Sri Lankan Army Rebuffs Claim of Chemical-Arms Use

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
March 18, 2014, 9:20 a.m.

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.

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