Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 12 June 2016





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Government Gazette

Salawa: CID teams yet to enter actual blast site

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) teams now probing last week’s devastating fire at the Salawa Army base munitions stockpile have, so far, only been given limited and controlled access into sections of the base. According to top CID sources, some areas have not been made secure for the investigations to commence in the blast site.

“We have only been able to access areas within 200m from the actual blast site within the camp. The Army is yet to give clearance for us to access the armoury. The CID team and the Government Analyst have been told that we would be getting access on Monday,” a top official of the CID told the Sunday Observer.

The CID team which has been at the disaster site from Sunday evening has recorded 35 statements from residents and Army personnel. However, they are yet to visit the actual blast site, he said.

According to Army officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the ammunition stocks did not have proper storing facilities even at the height of the conflict and they were stored in semi permanent structures.

The artillery rounds which were imported to the country at the height of the war before 2009 were even stored in the gymnasium of the Panagoda Army Cantonment and later shifted to Salawa and other ammunition dumps as the gymnasium in Panagoda had to be cleared to be used for Army sports activities after the war’s end.

Commenting on the reports that the Army had not given permission for the CID teams to enter the blast site, Security Forces Commander (West) Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe said the CID teams investigating the incident were there on the site for the past three days.

“The CID teams investigating the incident are very much inside the camp site. Anyone visiting Salawa area can see how they are conducting investigations at the site,” Major General Ranasinghe said.

He said as a legitimate government institution, the Sri Lanka Army cannot prevent another government investigating team conducting investigations.

“These are diabolical lies spread by vested interests to create problems. The Army Commander made his stance clear on the investigations and the Army has given access to the site for investigations,” he said.


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