Jungle Telegraph

3rd June 2001

By Alia

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The big boss

Has a senior Navy official arrogated to himself the powers and duties of his Commander?

Recently, he sent out a virtual signed order to the Commanders of the Army, Air Force and the Inspector General of Police to refrain from using their vehicles and that of their organisations on the "Bypass" road through Colombo Harbour. He even sent a copy to Secretary, Ministry of Defence. This road links the Colombo Fort to Grandpass through the port.

Evidently, the Commander Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri was unaware. If he knew, he would have chosen to write personally to his colleagues. Nor did this order say the officer was writing on the instructions of the Commander.

And now comes the news of an operation he has launched to nab anyone at the senior levels talking to members of the fourth estate. Attempts are being made to secure the phone bills of some scribes. In at least one case, the move has misfired revealing details of the operation. It comes at a time when the PA leadership has lifted the censorship to ensure a free flow of information on the ongoing separatist war.

Other Navy top rungers are worried the actions of one could lead to PR disasters both for the boss and the institution. At least one of them raised issue recently.

Joh headless

The Joint Operations Headquarters (JOH) the joint security forces apparatus tasked to execute counter terrorist operations is without a head.

The General Officer Commanding, General Rohan de S. Daluwatte, is on three weeks overseas vacation. No acting appointment has been made by the Ministry of Defence.

Perhaps there was no need for one with the Government not wanting to conduct any offensive operations.

Speculation over Janaka

Veteran soldier and retired Army Chief of Staff, Major General Janaka Perera, has been cleared by the Australian authorities as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Canberra.

He was to have left for his new assignment during the weekend but had been advised to stay until he meets President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

She had only wanted to speak to Maj. Gen. Perera before he left for Australia.

There is no move at all to ask him to stay back and take over a military job. Reports to that effect were nothing but mere speculation.

Maj. Gen. Perera's letter of credentials is ready and he will leave for Australia next week.

First to China

The People's Repub lic of China has offered a placement for a senior Sri Lanka military official in their National Defence College.

The first to be nominated for the Chinese NDC course will be Major General Susil Chandrapala, Deputy Commander, Security Forces, Jaffna.

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