• Truth About the Salawa Ammunition Storage Facility

    Following the fire and explosions at the Salawa Army Camp in Kosgama, a lot of questions are being asked about why such an armoury has been located in a residential area, putting the lives of thousands of residents at risk.

    The decision to establish the armoury at that location was taken by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga during her time in office in her capacity as the Defence Minister. The decision was taken against the advice of military officials and amidst many protests by local residents.

    Having recognised the dangers of this ammunition site, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed officials to find an alternate location. Former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa then spearheaded the plans for relocation as a measure towards improving national security. As a result, the amount of fire power at the site was considerably reduced and taken to a site in Weyangoda that was more appropriate for their storage. Furthermore, alternate lands were identified in Rambewa and Oyamaduwa for the storage of the remainder of the ammunition. Had this plan been followed through by the new Government, this incident could have been easily prevented. Even if an accident had occurred, it most definitely would not have put the lives of residents in danger.

    While the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) should investigate into any possible criminal activity, the Army should also conduct its own independent investigation to determine where there may have been a breach in national security and how such incidents can be prevented in the future.