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Funerals of Sri Lankan Peacekeepers held with military honours


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The last rites of the two Sri Lankan Peacekeepers were conducted amidst full military honours on Thursday (7 February). 

According to Army media, the funerals of late Major H. W. D. Jayawickrama of 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) of Polonnaruwa and Sergeant S. S. Wijekumara of 1 Mechanised Infantry Regiment (MIR) of Thalakolawewa, Polpithigama were held at the Abhayapura General Cemetery in Polonnaruwa and Rawa Ela General Cemetery in Polpithigama, respectively.

After the completion of religious observances, a military salute was presented to both Sri Lankan Army personnel who had laid down their lives for world peace as UN Peacekeepers in Mali. Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake first called at late Sergeant S. S. Wijekumara’s home at Polpithigama before attending the funeral of late Major Jayawickrama in Polonnaruwa.

Representative Army Officers read out the Part - I Orders issued by SLLI Colonel of the Regiment Major General Ruwan Kulathunga on behalf of late Major Jayawickrama, and 1 MIR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel W. D. S. Gamage on behalf of fallen Sergeant Wijekumara in accordance with military formalities and traditions at both funerals.  President Maithripala Sirisena, Republic of Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, UN Secretary General, the Speaker, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, MINUSMA Force Commander, UN Security Council authorities, and several local and international agencies had extended their condolences on the death of the two Sri Lankan Peacekeepers. Captain H. W. D. Jayawickrama and Corporal S. S. Wijekumara of the Sri Lankan Army UN Peacekeeping Contingent in Mali were killed in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosion, when their convoy came under rebel attack while engaged in Peacekeeping duties in the Keerana area in Mali on 25 January. Their mortal remains were brought to the country on 4 February. Three other Sri Lankan Peacekeepers had also sustained injuries in the attack and were admitted to the Level 2 Hospital at Gao in Mali.

Both Army personnel were posthumously promoted to their next ranks of Major and Sergeant, respectively.

Army Chief of Staff, senior officers, UN representatives and a large number of people were present at both funerals.

 


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