President visits Kilinochchi: 'first ever visit by a head of state'
H.E the President and Commander-in-Chief, Mahinda
Rajapaksa visited the recently liberated Northern Town of Kilinochchi
today (April 16).
The President made this goodwill visit during the
traditional Sinhala and Hindu New Year period to meet with the troops
stationed there as well as IDPs and other civilians.
This is the first visit by a Head of State to this
part of Sri Lanka after the first Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Mahamanya D.S.
Senanayake toured the area in early 1950s.
Killinochchi was considered the headquarters and
administrative centre of the separatist LTTE, until it was taken over by
the security forces on January 02 this year, in the current operations
to eliminate terrorism from this country.
On the arrival at the proposed new hospital complex in
the heart of Kilinochchi town Thursday (16) morning, the President and
his entourage were received by Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa,
Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Commander of the
Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, Commander of the Navy Vice
Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal
Roshan Goonatilake and Inspector General of Police Jayantha
Wickaramratne who had arrived in Kilinochchi prior to the visit of the
At the outset, General Officers Commanding 57 and 58
Divisions Major General Jagath Dias and Brigadier Shavendra Silva
briefed the President on the tiring long march made for liberation of
Kilinochchi by respective Divisions from the commencement of the Wanni
During this historic visit, President shared his
thoughts with valiant soldiers present at the venue while joining them
to taste traditional sweetmeats during tea. A cross section of soldiers
from all ranks representing Wanni-based military units received New Year
gifts from the President. A large stock of weaponry including artillery
and other sophisticated guns captured by the Army from the LTTE was also
kept on display for President's inspection.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa along with President's
Secretary Mr. Lalith Weeratunge, Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya
Rajapaksa and military top brass saw with his own eyes the damage caused
by the LTTE to public property such as schools, hospital and the water
tank before their eviction.
He also visited the former LTTE Peace Secretariat and
Political Headquarters in Kilinochchi town.
On his return, President and the retinue landed in
Vavuniya where Commander Security Forces Headquarters-Wanni (SFHQ-W)
Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya received them. President Mahinda Rajapaksa
as Commander-in-Chief addressed the members of tri services, Police and
Civil Defence Force in Wanni and appreciated their service before he
distributed parcels of sweetmeats among them.
President's Secretary Mr. Lalith Weeratunge, Defence
Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Commander of the Army Lieutenant
General Sarath Fonseka, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Wasantha
Karannagoda, Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Roshan Goonatilake,
Inspector General of Police Mr. Jayantha Wickaramratne, Commandant Civil
Defence Force Vice Admiral Sarath Weerasekara and Commandant Special
Task Force Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr. K.L.M. Sarathchandra
were present during the visit.
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