COLOMBO: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed Army Commander Lt. General Shavendra Silva as a new acting Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) after Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne stepped down from the post.
Wijegunaratne, who resigned on Tuesday, was the highest-ranking military officer in the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. Since Wijegunaratne's successor was not decided, Silva has been entrusted to oversee the duties, reported local media. He will assume office from Wednesday, reported Daily News. Silva took over as the country's army chief in August last year.
Outgoing CDS, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, was accorded with a Tri-service Guard of Honour salute at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall premises (BMICH) yesterday.
The United Nations has alleged that Silva committed grave human rights abuses in Sri Lanka's long-running civil war. He was in charge of a Sri Lankan Army division that encircled the final stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels or the LTTE in the final stages of the war in 2009, Al Jazeera reported.
Silva's 58th division has been accused of violating international human rights laws, including shelling a hospital.