Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa broke his silence and issued a statement for the first since being ousted in order to respond to the allegations made by the Channel 4 program on the Easter Sunday attacks.
He said that the latest film by Channel 4 is mostly an anti-Rajapaksa tirade aimed at blackening the Rajapaksa legacy from 2005 onwards and is a tissue of lies just like the previous films broadcast by the same Channel.
He said that to claim that a group of Islamic extremists launched suicide attacks in order to make him President, is absurd.
“Despite the politically motivated accusations being made against me by certain individuals, I have personally done everything possible to help the Roman Catholic community when I held government office. After the war ended, I helped in the restoration and reconstruction of the Madhu Church and the Church in Mullikulam. I also helped facilitate the arrangements to invite His Holiness the Pope to Sri Lanka and I headed the committee formed by the then government to organize the visit. I also played a key role in the construction of the Benedict XVI Catholic Institution of Higher Education in Bolawalana. I worked very closely with His Eminence the Cardinal during that period,” he said in the statement.
Commenting on the claims that termed Major General Suresh Salley as a Rajapaksa loyalist, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that Major General Salley is a career military officer who has served under many Presidents and all military officers are loyal to the State and not to private individuals.
Rajapaksa claimed that he had no contact with Major General Suresh Salley after leaving the position of Defence Secretary in 2015 and until he was elected President in 2019.
” I too was a former army officer, and like him, I too served under different governments. After leaving the position of Defence Secretary in 2015 and until I was elected President, Maj Gen Sallay and I had no contact at all,” he said in a statement on Thursday (7).
Rajapaksa goes on to note that after Maj. Gen. Sallay was removed from Military Intelligence in 2016, he never served in that organisation again.
“It was only after I became President that he rejoined the intelligence apparatus as the head of the State Intelligence Service from December 2019 onwards. Hence this story about Maj Gen Sallay meeting the suicide bombers in February 2018 is clearly a fabrication,” he added.