Colombo, May 19 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena, on Friday remembered the hundreds of soldiers who laid down their lives in the 30 year civil conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in May 2009.
In a National War Heroes commemoration ceremony held close to the parliament in capital Colombo on Friday, to commemorate right years since the end of conflict between government troops and the LTTE, Sirisena said that the country’s armed forces had always fought with courage to defeat terrorism whilst several lives were lost in the process.
Sirisena said the armed forces and the police continued to serve the nation even after ending the war and they were always present whenever a disaster or tragedy struck the country. He mentioned it was the armed forces and the police that had taken part in several rescue operations including during the deadly landslide in Aranayake last year and the Meetotamulla garbage dump tragedy last month.
Sirisena further called on the armed forces to eradicate the deadly menace of terrorism from the island and be partners in developing Sri Lanka.
The President also noted that while Sri Lanka had to turn to India several times for help during the war, to defeat the rebels, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) had failed in its mission to defeat the LTTE. He said it was the Sri Lankan military forces that eventually defeated the rebels in May 2009.
Sirisena also said that at least 100,000 people, which included the forces and the citizens, had lost their lives during the 30 years of conflict.
The National war heroes’ commemoration ceremony was held at the war Heroes’ memorial near the parliament under the attendance of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, heads of armed forces, several cabinet ministers and politicians and religious heads.
The President placed floral tributes at the War Memorial after addressing the ceremony. A guard of honour was also held for the war heroes’ who laid down their lives.
The United Nations has alleged that at least 40,000 civilians, mainly minority Tamils, were killed in the final months leading of the conflict and has called for a war crimes probe in the island country.
However Sirisena’s government has assured its international partners including the UN that it will set up a domestic mechanism to probe any allegations of war crimes committed by its security forces.
Hundreds of civilians mainly from the former war torn north continue to be missing even eights years since the end of conflict and family members are now calling on the international community to launch a probe into the whereabouts of their loves ones.