Changes in SLA senior ranks
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 June 2002, 23:07 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Army Tuesday announced changes in some of its senior ranks. Major General L. C. R Goonewardene has been appointed new Chief of Staff while Major General A.E.D Wijendra has been appointed his deputy. Meanwhile press reports said SLA Commander Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle would serve an extended term with the approval of the United National Front government.
Promoted from Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Goonewardene’s appointment follows the retirement of Maj. Gen. H. N. W Dias. Having followed several military training courses in India, Pakistan, China, Italy, Switzerland and Czech Republic, Maj. Gen. Goonewardene had also attended several overseas seminars representing the Sri Lanka Army.
Major General Wijendra, his deputy, has also received military training in Pakistan’s National Defence College and attended several courses in India, Japan, Bangladesh, USA, UK, Israel, Pakistan and Malaysia.
Brigadier H.K.G Hendavitharane has been appointed Colonel Commandant, Military Intelligence Corps. Having served in Jaffna from 1983-1989, he was appointed 1st Secretary to Sri Lanka’s High Commission in London. He became the Director Military Intelligence, Army Headquarters in January 1998. He has followed military courses in India and UK.
Major General Thibbotumunuwe has been appointed Colonel Commandant Women Corps. He has undergone training and followed military courses in India, Egypt and Hawaii.
Maj Gen Sunil Tennakoon is now Colonel Commandant, Sri Lanka Artillery, the Army said. He has also received his military training in India, China, USA and Pakistan.
The Sunday Times reported this week that Army Commander Lionel Balagalle to serve an extended term in his office.
“Highly placed Government sources say Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga the subject of an extended term for Lt. Gen. Balagalle,” the paper said. Lt. Gen. Balagalle is due to retire as Commander of the Army on June 14 when his extended term expires.