A Sri Lankan opposition politician said Wednesday he wanted his government to investigate allegations that an army officer now in Canada had been ordered to plant a bomb at his residence during the island nation’s civil war. M.K. Sivajilingam said he had no trouble believing the former Sri Lanka Army captain, who has told Canadian immigration authorities his colonel had instructed him to leave explosives at the home of the controversial Tamil parliamentarian in 2008. The former MP said in a telephone interview the military had made three attempts on his life during the war and once placed a claymore mine under his steps. He fled the country in October 2008 but has since returned to Sri Lanka. “At that time, especially during the wartime, the Sri Lankan government made several attempts to kill me,” he said. “I escaped so many attempts. Definitely that particular captain’s statement may be right.” Last week, the National Post reported that Capt. Ravindra Watudura Bandanage had fled to Canada at the end of the war between government forces and separatist Tamil rebels. During his refugee hearing, he said he had been instructed to place explosives and detonators at Mr. Sivajilingam’s home in Colombo. He said he had refused the assignment and was transferred to a unit that conducted search-and-cordon operations that rounded up ethnic Tamils in Colombo. He said he was aware the army was torturing, beating and raping civilians. While there have been mounting allegations that both sides committed war crimes during the final stage of the war, the ex-captain’s account is considered particularly damaging because it comes from a former commissioned officer who served 16 years in the army. The Immigration and Refugee Board ruled the deserter was not eligible for refugee protection because he was complicit in the Sri Lanka Army’s “relentless brutality” towards Tamil civilians. His appeal to the Federal Court of Canada was dismissed last month. The Sri Lankan military has confirmed the captain was AWOL but denied the allegations on its website on the weekend, calling his statement a lie by “a man of dubious repute and questionable integrity towards his motherland.” David Poopalapillai, the Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman, said the deserter’s account “shows once again how deliberately the leadership of the army and the leadership of the government went after the elected officials and also civilians, to harass them and to incriminate them. “It’s a gross human rights violation.” Mr. Sivajilingam was an MP affiliated with the Tamil National Alliance party at the time of the alleged bomb incident. He is now leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization. He said he did not know the officer who allegedly gave the order to plant the bomb, identified in Canadian immigration records as Colonel Atapattu. He said several other Tamil MPs were assassinated during the long armed conflict. (NP)]]>


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