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Yesteryear LTTE Stronghold, Kilinochchi Turns New Lease of Life

“Soldier rest ! Thy warfare over, Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking, Dream of battlefields no more Days of danger, nights of waking”

KILINOCHCHI town, the LTTE’s yesteryear office Headquarters that pumped its fighters and resources to the whole of North and East, and internationalized its entire terror machine, was rejuvenated on Thursday (6), as a town of key importance in post-war Sri Lanka after a symbol of eternal peace and valour, dedicated for the memory of fallen War Heroes and all peace-loving Sri Lankans was bestowed upon it.

The parallelogram-shaped Kilinochchi War Hero Memorial that symbolizes the gallantry of warriors whose unparalleled warfare skills torpedoed all terror tactics and rescued the entire district, sending shock waves across the world, was ceremoniously unveiled Thursday (6) morning by Secretary Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in the company of Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army, Commander of the Navy and Inspector General of Police.

The opening of this sentimental cenotaph of 30 ft long and 20 ft in height, spreading in an area of 9600 cu ft in the former LTTE stronghold, Kilinochchi also testifies to the Army’s remarkable potential and professionalism, as it marches forward with its shift of focus, now on reconciliation and rapid re-awakening of the North. This immortal symbol also serves a fitting tribute to the cherished memories of living War Heroes, some of who remain without proper physical ability after battlefield injuries.

Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa whose analytical vision for annihilation of ruthless LTTE terrorism from all four corners of the island succeeded and bore fruits graced the opening occasion as Chief Guest on the invitation of the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.

The day’s itinerary began after Mr Rajapaksa was warmly received on arrival at Kilinochchi by Major General L.W.C.B.B. Rajaguru, Commander, Security Forces Headquarters, Kilinochchi, (SFHQ-KLN). Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke, Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya were also welcomed at the venue.

Secretary Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the company of Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya and Major General Rajaguru afterwards proceeded to the War Hero Monument site in a motorcade as the stage was set for the grand opening.  General Officer Commanding (GOC), 57 Division Brigadier L.N. Wickramasuriya extended a warm welcome to the visiting defence chiefs. As fanfare began to rend the air Mr Rajapaksa was conducted to the red carpet to receive the Guard of Honour. After military honours were done, the great fallen warriors of our times were remembered with reverence by all present  after observing a two-minute silence. Seconds after that, everybody rose to their feet singing the Army song, ‘Sagarayen Wata-Me Mage Mawu Rata’. The auspicious drum beats  (Rana Bera) then heralded the moment for opening the Kilinochchi War Hero Memorial with their scintillating performance, adding a blend of patriotism and our cultural heritage to the occasion. Secretary Defence, accompanied by Commander of the Army unveiled the plaque on the cenotaph  and declared the monument open. Mr Rajapaksa, taking a stroll round the erection   closely observed the construction and shared a couple of thoughts with the Commander of the Army over the structural meaning it depicts. The monument, put up by 2 (V) Engineers Service Regiment has been designed by artist, Channa Ekanayaka, the architect, Lakshman Senadheera and Pujitha Gamage.

Secretary Defence afterwards witnessed several colourful cultural performances, presented by members of the Army cultural troupe along with other visiting defence chiefs. An address by the Secretary Defence was to follow. Troops at the SFHQ-KLN enthusiastically listened to the visiting Secretary Defence who stressed the importance of troop contribution to the development of the country in the future while being simultaneously alert to any security challenges. 

Mr Rajapaksa after receipt of a thorough briefing on current security arrangements in Kilinochchi sector from Major General L.W.C.B.B. Rajaguru, Commander, Security Forces Headquarters, Kilinochchi, (SFHQ-KLN) left for Pooneryn, as second leg of the itinerary along with accompanying service chiefs. On their arrival at 661 Brigade Headquarters, they were received by General Officer Commanding (GOC) in 66 Division. A few minutes later, the visiting defence chiefs made a bee-line to the Kalmunai point, the corner-most isthmus on the north-western coast of Pooneryn and inspected the area as a part of a field visit. Mr Rajapaksa also on its way back to the 661 Brigade made a surprise visit to the Sangupiddy Jetty where he freely moved with tri-service personnel serving there and made inquiries on the venue.

Later on, the visiting defence officials made a trip down to the newly established camp complex in the 65 Division at Thunukkai. Thunukkai, formerly a strategic nerve-center for the LTTE during last three decades was used by terrorists as a staging area and a baseline for their supplies and clandestine operations. A special Guard of Honour offered by soldiers in 8 Signal Corps greeted the visiting Secretary Defence on arrival at the new camp complex. Mr Rajapaksa in accordance with military traditions inspected the parade in the company of parade Commander. The next item was of historic significance. The ceremonial opening of this new Army camp complex was declared by Mr Rajapaksa, gracing the occasion as Chief Guest, amidst Seth Pirith, chanted by monks and rhythms of Rana Bera. The new plaque was symbolically unveiled and the visitors were invited to have a closer look around the complex. In the company of Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, both Commanders from Kilinochchi and Wanni, GOC 65 Division and other senior officers, the visiting Secretary Defence saw for himself the professionalism that has been amply proved by soldiers, serving the area by way of constructing their own residential complex in an excellent manner with minimal costs. Before his departure back to Colombo, Mr Rajapaksa thanked the troops for their hospitality.
      

Kilinochchi War Hero Memorial

Secretary Defence receiving the parade after guard of honour

Commander of the Army accompanying Secretary Defence up to War Memorial

Unveiling War Hero Memorial plaque

Reading “Sannasa” or stone inscription

 
 
 

66 Division Commander receiving Secretary Defence

 

At the old Pooneryn fortress built by Dutch

Inspecting an old Dutch tunnel 

 

Sangupiddy Jetty