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 Post subject: Assassination of Major General Larry Wijeratne -1998
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:21 am 
Major General Larry Wijeratne

``It is perfectly clear that he was not assassinated because he was a feared military commander but because he was reaching the hearts and minds of the people. That's what is dastardly about it.'' - Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar

Sources: Agencies / www / LL

Major General Larry Wijeratne, Commander of the SLA's Pt. Pedro 524 Brigade and co-ordinating administrator of the Vadmarachchi sector of the Jaffna peninsula, was killed and three others wounded when his vehicle was destroyed by a suicide bomber, in Pt. Pedro town 32 km north of Jaffna, on May 14, 1998.

Major General was on his way from Pt. Pedro to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base complex at Palaly. The incident occurred opposite the Pt. Pedro bus stand when a suspected LTTE suicide bomber jumped on the vehicle the Major General was travelling in.

Wijeratne 47, was killed instantly, while three others travelling with him were injured. The vehicle that preceded Brigadier Wijeratne's and the one that followed suffered only minor damage.

Major General Wijeratne has been considered by the SLA as one of its best officers in the Jaffna peninsula. He was praised for keeping the activity of the Liberation Tigers under complete check in Vadamaradchi since 1996. Briadier. Wijeratne had considerable experience with the Sri Lankan army's Directorate of Military Intelligence.

Major General Wijeratne had completed a tour of duty in the Vadamaradchi sector of the Jaffna peninsula, and was to take over the Kotalawela Defence Academy as Deputy Commandant. He was a former commander of the Sri Lankan Army's 4th Artillery Regiment.

His wife was also a serving officer in the SLA - Lt.Col. H.I.G. Wijeratne, staff officer, Directorate of Legal Services.

White and black flags flew over Pt. Pedro and Nelliady and shops were closed to mourn the assassination of Brigadier Larry Wijeratne.

Military officials in the north said that the late brigadier's successful ``hearts and minds'' approach to the people within his area of command would have angered the LTTE which targeted him. The Voice of Tigers had acknowledged the killing.

Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told a meeting of the Foreign Correspondents' Association in Colombo: ``It is perfectly clear that he was not assassinated because he was a feared military commander but because he was reaching the hearts and minds of the people. That's what is dastardly about it.''

The National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) had information that the brigadier, posthumously promoted major-general, was to be targeted in retaliation for the killing of Arjunan, the deputy leader of the Sea Tigers and a senior LTTE fighter at Vadamarachchi and six others by the security forces.

This information had been conveyed to Brig. Wijeratne several months ago. Following receipt of this intelligence, the late officer had been conscious of his security which had been tightened. But the guard had been relaxed on his penultimate day in the peninsula when he attended a traders' felicitation lunch just before leaving on transfer as deputy commandant of the Kotelawela Defence Academy.

The LTTE appeared to have assessed the possibility of a strike that day, military sources said. They said that the brigadier had spoken warmly of his 30 months in the area and hoped that he would one day return there.

The Puloly - Pt. Pedro Traders' Association called for a 2-day hartal on Saturday and Sunday to protest the killing of a much loved officer.

Although it was first suspected that a woman cadre was responsible for the killing, a tell-tale mustache established that the killer was a man.

Major General Larry Wijeratne leaves his wife, Colonel Indira Wijeratne and sons Baghaya and Dulanjaya.


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