President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has approved Army Commander Rohan Daluwatte’s recommendations for a series of top level changes in the Army. They will take effect from January, next year.
In accordance with these changes, Major General Somadasa Hapuaratchi, presently Commandant of the Volunteer Force will become the Chief of Staff. He succeeds Major General A.M.U. Seneviratne, who retired last week.
Major General Jaliya Nammuni, currently the Army’s Quarter Master General, will be the new Volunteer Force Commandant. Major General Siri Peiris will relinquish his appointment as GOC 3 division to become the new Quarter Master General.
Major General Lionel Balagalle, who has just returned after a year long stint at the National Defence College in New Delhi has been appointed as General Officer Commanding the Army’s 51 division headquartered in Jaffna.
The retirement of Major General A.M.U. Seneviratne and the departure of three senior officers on year long training stints abroad has also resulted in the Army Commander making officiating appointments . The three are Major General Janaka Perera who is leaving for the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in Britain, Major General Neil Dias and Brigadier Lohan Gunawardena to the National Defence College in New Delhi.
Brigadier Vasantha Perera has been named as officiating GOC for 53 division. Brigadier Sarath Munasinghe, former official spokesman of the Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence, has been named as officiating GOC of 3 division.
Other officiating appointments: Brigadier Shantha Kottegoda as officiating GOC - 54 division and Brigadier Chula Seneviratne, officiating GOC - 52 division.
For the first time, the Army Commander has also named a senior volunteer officer, Brigadier Saliya Kulatunga, as Commanding Officer, eighth Brigade based in Cheddikulam. Brigadier Kulatunga is now Director of Psychological Operations at Army Headquarters. Succeeding him is Col. Ranjith de Silva.
Among the other changes are:
Brigadier Sarath Fonseka (CO - 23 Brigade) as Deputy GOC, Task Force Two.
Brigadier Parami Kulatunga (CO - 22 Brigade) as Deputy GOC - 54 division.
Brigadier Percy Fernando (CO - lndependent/Special Forces Brigade) as Deputy GOC - 53 division.
Several Colonels have also been named as officiating Brigade Commanders.
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