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President has ‘faith in us’ to lead coronavirus response claims Shavendra Silva

The head of the Sri Lankan army, accused war criminal Shavendra Silva, toured the military’s bases in the occupied North of the island this week, as he praised the armed forces for leading the government’s coronavirus containment strategy.

“Reposing faith in us, HE the President, our Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces appointed me as the Head of the National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak and handed over this challenging task to the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and the Air Force since we have defended the Nation whenever its very existence was under threat,” Silva told troops this week, as he visited bases in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna.  

Silva, who led a military division in 2009 that is accused of carrying out executions of Tamils and shelling hospitals, is currently head of Sri Lanka’s coronavirus task force despite having no public health experience. He is currently banned from travel to the United States due to his role in overseeing war crimes.

Regardless, he told troops that their “dedicated and invaluable services at this critical stage of our history are greatly admired by HE the President, Hon Prime Minister, Secretary Defence and all Sri Lankans when the whole world remains crippled and threatened with this pandemic”.

“Compared to other countries, Sri Lanka is performing their tasks in a commendable manner,” he claimed.

His tour comes as Sri Lanka’s prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed confidence in his government’s ability to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, reiterating the 2009 military defeat of the LTTE in which the Sri Lankan military massacred tens of thousands of Tamils, in a public address earlier this week.

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