Army rejects allegations against Lt. Col. Amunupure, says it will appeal | Daily News

Army rejects allegations against Lt. Col. Amunupure, says it will appeal

The Sri Lanka Army has rejected allegations levelled by the UN which has called for the immediate repatriation of the Commander of its Peacekeeping force in Mali, citing a review of his human rights background, saying that while the Army would comply, they would also appeal.

Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu told the Daily News that it would comply with the UN request and take steps to recall Lt. Col. Amunupure, when an official request is received.

“This is merely an allegation, the Commander has not committed any crimes to warrant such an action, hence its our responsibility to appeal upon his return,” he said.

“We will not be sending anyone else in the interim, since this contingent will be completing their mission by the end of this year.”

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric announced on Friday that the request for Lt. Col. Kalana Amunupure to leave the troubled West African nation was made “based on recently received information.” He gave no details.

“This mission has been in Mali for the last nine months, we find it odd that such intimation has been received many months into the mission. It is noteworthy to mention that this is Lt. Col. Amunupure’s second mission to Mali for which he was granted approval following a stringent vetting process.”

Brigadier Atapattu said that they have only received a verbal request so far and would comply once a formal intimation is received.

“We will comply with the official notification in keeping with protocols. However, the Commander has not committed any crimes and the army is prepared to appeal.” In a response to Inner City Press which had questioned the UN spox on the request for repatriation, they were told the decision was reached following “a review of the human rights background of the Commander.

The Secretariat has requested Sri Lanka to immediately repatriate him. This will be done at their cost, as per normal procedure. This decision to repatriate the commander was made following a review, based on recently received information. The Secretariat remains engaged with the Permanent Mission on this matter.”

Despite the setback, sources say that the Sri Lanka Army is in the process of obtaining clearance for the next contingent which will leave the country next year.

Lt.Col.Kalana Amunupure leads a 200-strong Combat Convoy Company (CCC) contingent which will complete their one year tenure in Mali in December. According to him, 20 officers and 240 other rankers commanded by Lt.Col. K.L.I. Karunanayake with Major P.G.J Suriyasena as his Second-in-Command, would undertake responsibilities in Mali as replacement for the first CCC. 

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