Remains of UN Peacekeeping Mission members brought home | Sunday Observer

Remains of UN Peacekeeping Mission members brought home

The coffins carrying the remains of Maj. H.W.D. Jayawickrama and Sgt. S.S. Wijekumara who made the supreme sacrifice while serving the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali (MINSUMA) were brought to Sri Lanka on Monday evening.

State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake and UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer were present at the BIA, to receive the bodies from MINUSMA Force Commander Lt. Gen. Dennis Gyllensporre.

The solemn red-carpet ceremony was held to pay tribute to the invaluable overseas service they performed on behalf of all Sri Lankans. The remains were formally received by the Sri Lanka Army at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

MINUSMA Force Commander Lt. Gen. Dennis Gyllensporre, formally handed over the UN flag-draped coffins to the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake. Later, parade troops, in conformity with military traditions, after draping the coffins with Sri Lankan National Flags handed the UN flags back to the visiting MINUSMA Force Commander, symbolising the formal acceptance on the part of the Troop Contributing Country (TCC).

The coffins were later laid on gun carriages and the troops presented a salute before being taken to the Negombo Hospital for post-mortem and other formalities.

State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene, the next of kin of the fallen War Heroes, UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer, Commandant, Defence Services Command and Staff College, Maj. Gen. J.R. Kulathunga and Colonel of the Regiment of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI), Maj. Gen. Nishanka Ranawana were also present.

Maj. Mats Ivarsson, Aide De Camp to the Force Commander, Victor Berggern and Petter Storm Macs were the other members of the UN MINUSMA delegation who arrived with the coffins, in addition to a few MINUSMA serving Sri Lankan officers.

Pix: Army media and Airport correspondent Kumarasiri Prasad

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