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‘What has happened has happened’ – Accused war criminal calls for calm in Sri Lanka

The war crimes-accused head of the Sri Lankan army called on the public to “think intelligently and act calmly” earlier today, after violence gripped the island with mob attacks across the South.

“The tri-forces are currently working to protect the people,” Shavendra Silva told reporters.

“We have to go forward as a country. We cannot only fight and kill and burn. What has happened has happened. We as the tri-forces are asking the people to be calm at this time. Do not damage public or private property.

“Please give the first place to humanity. At all times there is no intention to do anything to peaceful protests. We are earnestly asking not to behave in a violent manner.”

His words come as protests and violence continues across the South as both pro-regime and anti-government supporters clashed earlier today.

Last month, Silva callied on “intelligent” Sri Lankans to back the armed forces and “co-operate” as they had done when the military launched an offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils in 2009.

In a video released by the Sri Lankan army, Silva speaks to a camera in Sinhala only and claims the military has “not to-date caused any hindrance to such peaceful protests”. “Let me earnestly appeal to all intelligent Sri Lankans to support our forces and the Police in the same way you all cooperated with the armed forces in the control of the most recent COVID-19 epidemic and the war against terrorism in the past,” he continued, referring to the offensive in which he played a leading role.

Silva is currently barred from travel to the USA over his role in the execution of surrendering Tamils in 2009. Despite his credibly accused crimes, he was promoted to the head of the military and Sri Lanka’s coronavirus task force.

Read more: US bans Sri Lanka’s army chief from entry over war crimes

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