13th July 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Friendly fire

Troops defending ad vancing columns of “Operation Jaya Sikurui” last week intensified patrols. So much so, Army, Navy and Air Force units, holding respective sectors sent their own teams ahead of their defences.

A Navy unit fought a pitched gun battle with an Army unit. It was all a case of mistaken identity. One suspected the other to be LTTE infiltrators.

The friendly fire took the lives of two sailors.

Tipped for UN job

Easily one of Sri Lan ka’s most accomplished career diplomats, former envoy to United States, Jayantha Dhanapala, is in for a top UN job.

Secretary General, Kofi Anan, due to announce his reform package for the world body on July 16, is to create a new post - Under Secretary General for Disarmament. Reports from New York say Mr. Dhanapala is high on the list.

He turned down an earlier offer to become Assistant Secretary General (Disarmament) on grounds of protocol.

SLAF woes

An Instructor Pilot and a trainee escaped unhurt when a Brazilian built SiAi Warrior 260 made a virtual crash landing at SLAF Anuradhapura airfield last Tuesday. The nose wheel and propellers were badly damaged.

Engineers say repairs would cost at least a third of the SiAi’s original price.

Talking of crashes, pilots of SLAF AN 32 ferrying troops from Ratmalana to Palaly now exercise great caution.

Last Monday, an AN 32 prepared for landing at Ratmalana but was caught up in a heavy downpour. Unlike their Ukranian counterparts (who cost a lot of money), the Sri Lankan pilot flew to Katunayake and landed at the SLAF bases there. With the passengers he waited for a couple of hours till the weather cleared and made it to Ratmalana.

Cheers for our locals. The expensive Ukranians deprived the SLAF of one AN 32 by trying to land in heavy rain.

We are right

‘United National Party, Sri Lanka - Human rights alert,’ says the cover of a bulletin doing the rounds in Colombo’s diplomatic community.

The caricature of an unknown hand (he wears a coat and a shirt with cuff links) carries a jaunty weighing scale. On top is a citizen in rags. Down below, a criminal with a kris knife on his waist, a pistol on one hand and a shot gun on the other sits in a demonic pose. The caption below reads JUSTICE.

If it pleased many diplomats, it equally amused others. It is a catalogue of “human rights violations” of the PA.

A case of the pot calling the kettle black, said one of them wryly.

“We are right” when in power and “human rights” whilst in Opposition, remarked another.

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