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Jungle Telegraph

28th February 1999

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US says a firm 'NO'

The news came in a week when the US State Department's reports on human rights practices for every country in the world is released in accordance with a Congressional requirement.

An Army officer nominated for a programme at the US Army's Pacific Command in Hawaii, has had his nomination rejected. He was to have left Colombo last week.

Insiders say the rejection came on the grounds that he had allegedly violated human rights whilst serving in Jaffna.

Though not a member of the Special Forces, former Army Commander, Rohan de S. Daluwatte, had recommended the officer in question.

And now, the new Commander, Lt. Gen. Srilal Weerasooriya, has sent in a strong protest note to the Ministry of Defence, against the rejection.

However, that will not lead to a change of mind since such US Government actions do not come within the command and control of the Sri Lanka Government.

The honest 100

They have named it the List of 100 Honest Officers and Gentlemen -an updated document Army Headquarters is sending the Ministry of Defence.

It is from this list that the Ministry picks officers to chair or become members of the Technical Evaluation Committees (TEC) that examine military hardware whenever tenders are called.

Needless to say those on the list are the most sought after when arms dealers compete with each other to win contracts.

The updating of the list at Army Headquarters in the past weeks has taken the form of a test of confidence for many. One top man in uniform has knocked off the names of at least four Brigadiers from the list.

Those left out have been too shy to ask for reasons. Nor have any reasons been offered.

Traffic control

Sri Lanka Army's outgoing Chief of Staff, Major General Patrick Fernando, has sent out a ruling to senior officers in a bid to curb the use of official transport.

Commanding Officers have been told that official vehicles cannot be used in operational areas outside their command.

The COs have been asked to travel up to the border of their command areas in their 'appointment vehicles' and use the second vehicle assigned to travel elsewhere.

This means a CO deployed in the Wanni and living in Colombo can travel upto Medawachchiya. From there, his vehicle in Colombo has to arrive in Medawachchiya to pick him up. The entire scheme may come up for review after strong protests have been raised.

Early warning

Intelligence sources are speaking of a group of Tiger cadres infiltrating the City in the past 48 hours.

An early warning has gone out to security establishments following suspicion that the groups has been assigned to take on economic targets.

The move has led to the tightening of security in the City and suburbs.

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