Towards the end of the Civil war in Sri Lanka, he was unaware of LTTE plans to launch Arial attacks on Colombo, said the former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
He also noted that during the last days of the war he was never overseas.
He said this to BBC Sinhala service in response to a statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena last Thursday claiming that none of the leaders at the time, including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka or the Defence Secretary were in the country during the last two weeks of the war.
“During the last two weeks I was the acting Defence Minister and the victories during that time was the final battle. The government received information that the LTTE was planning to come from Chennai in South India or some jungle and bomb Colombo. That is why all left the country,” Sirisena said in New York addressing the Sri Lankans.
However, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that these claims by the President is news to him too.
“The President’s claims are new to me and I don’t think the whole world knew about such a plan. I never received such information,” he said.
“I was in Sri Lanka during that period and never went anywhere.”
However, Gotabhaya told the BBC that as the President says, “these are false claims”, with regard to the war crimes allegations being levelled during his leadership, as claimed by him, it is up to President Sirisena to free the country from such war crimes allegations.
“Then I am sure the Foreign Minister had co-sponsored the proposal in Geneva without the knowledge of President Sirisena. However, since he claims to have steered the war during the last stages, I am sure he knows what happened. Hence, he should ask the UN to immediately withdraw these allegations and must instruct the Foreign Ministry to get out of this agreement.”
When asked by the BBC if the President should take responsibility for any war crimes that may have occurred during the final stages of the war, Gotabhaya said that he was certain that no such was crimes were committed by the security forces.
The President said in New York that during the last weeks of the war there were threats to his life. “During the last two weeks I was not in Colombo. I was in various parts of the country during that period for fear of them finding out where I was.”
However, when asked about this claim by the President, Gotabhaya refused to respond.
When asked about claims made by the President regarding the former President, Prime Minister and Army Commander, he said, “I am talking only about myself.”
The former President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the country during the last stages of the war on May 16, 2009.
However, several attempts to contact the former President for a comment, failed.
Meanwhile, President Sirisena further said in New York, “All those who fought against the LTTE, from a soldier to the Commander are all war heroes.”
He noted that no one who had fought against the terrorists were charged under his government, adding that however, during the war or after the war ended there were many killings not related to the war.
“If anyone had used the tri forces for these crimes, based on personal relationships, then it is very wrong,” Sirisena said.
He said that while the law is being implemented against certain tri forces personnel, this is a true respect for the true war heroes.
The Army Commander Mahesh Senenayake in a previous interview with the BBC said that after the war those who are using the war hero title to commit crimes is a blemish on the reputation of the true war heroes.
Army Commander Senanayake noted that although he was certain that the military had not committed any war crimes, if any individual had committed such crimes, he was unafraid to investigate them.
“If there are allegations, it is our duty to render our assistance. We are ready for that and the military need not hide anything. I say this because I am certain no war crimes were committed,” he said.
Allegations levelled against the Chief of Defence Staff of aiding abating a suspect.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne is facing allegations of having aided and abated a suspect to abscond from the law in the case relating to the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths in 2008.
The police told court recently that a Lt. Com. Of the Navy had been receiving death threats for having testified against the Admiral.
Courtesy: Sri Lanka Mirror