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Gotabhaya hints at Sri Lankan presidential election run

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary, accused of orchestrating the military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils, has hinted at running in the island’s upcoming presidential elections

Gotabhaya’s spokesperson tweeted that Rajapaksa addressed a gathering of “key activists” this weekend, where he spoke of the importance of a presidential election and said he was “ready to take own any challenge if the people, too, are ready”.

A video from NewsFirst shows Gotabhaya stating in Sinhala,

“We know that this is a very important year. A presidential election should be held. I am ready for it, if you are ready.” 

In October last year, as Gotabhaya’s brother Mahinda attempted to take the office of prime minister, reports emerged that Gotabhaya may return to the government’s highest defence office, though, he did not eventually come to office.

Gotabhaya was Sri Lanka’s defence secretary during the final phase of the armed conflict where Sri Lankan troops systematically shelled hospitals, no fire zones and committed widespread sexual violence. In the past he has defended the military’s bombing of hospitals, and stands accused of giving direct orders to execute surrendering Tamils.