of better life blasted in crossfire
By Asif Fuard
Like many Sri Lankans, 34-year-old Rohana Perera
from Kottawa, went to West Asia to give a better life to his children
back home. But instead he died in the line of duty while transporting
goods from Kuwait to Iraq. He fell victim to an exchange of fire
between militants and US soldiers in Iraq.
first worked in Saudi Arabia and then went to Kuwait where he worked
as a truck driver for a Gulf Transport Company, transporting goods
to Iraq. He had reportedly got caught in the crossfire on February
11, while returning from Iraq after transporting goods. He succumbed
to his injuries two days later in a US Military hospital.
mother Soma Perera told The Sunday Times that they got to know about
their son's death three days after the tragedy, when one of his
colleagues Piyaratne who had called his family members in Sri Lanka
and asked them to break the news to them.
My son called us everyday when he was in Kuwait and the only time
he didn't call was when he went to Iraq. There were several other
Sri Lankans travelling with him. His closest colleagues Duminda
and Piyaratne were also travelling with him on that fateful day,"
last called us on February 5 and he said he would be leaving for
Iraq. We were always worried when he travelled to Iraq. When Dinesh
Rajaratnam was taken hostage, I asked him to come back but he said
he would return once he had enough money to live comfortably in
Sri Lanka. He was to come back next month."
34, a father of two had gone to Saudi Arabia in 2003, but three
months later he was forced to go to Kuwait because he did'nt get
enough pay. His work entailed transporting heavy equipment to war-torn
was a private bus driver in Sri Lanka. But he sold his bus and went
abroad with the hope of one day returning home to build a better
life for himself and his children. At present family members lament
that they are being sent from one place to another, to make arrangements
to retrieve the body, that is in the hands of the US Military in