Sri Lanka’s army dismissed a media claim that it employed chemical arms against opponents in the nation’s 26-year civil war, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
The military service issued the denial on Monday, in response to an Indian television broadcaster’s recent assertion that Sri Lanka’s government conducted chemical strikes against the country’s Tamil Tiger rebels close to their defeat in 2009. Each side rejected accusations of its own chemical-arms use over the course of the conflict.
Sri Lankan army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya suggested that the new charge was timed to coincide with a gathering of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, where the army is facing claims of wartime abuses.
In remarks to Xinhua, the officer said that while the government refrained from using unconventional arms, its opposition appeared to have pursued chemical warfare as a possible tactic.
“Large stocks of chemicals were even recovered from their bases during search operations,” Wanigasooriya told the Chinese state-run news agency.
“The latest [television broadcast] is another attempt by some parties to sensationalize baseless allegation against the [Sri Lankan] army in particular and the government in general. We reject such appalling attempts driven by vested interests,” the official said.
He added that the Sri Lankan government “did not manufacture weapons or munitions” during the conflict.
“We procured our inventories from known suppliers through government-to-government interventions,” he said.