In a third instance in under a year, a Sri Lankan soldier on duty turned the gun on his colleague on Friday morning, before killing himself.
According to the Army, the incident took place at the check point adjacent to the Naga Deepa Vihara, the historic Buddhist Shrine near Jaffna town at 7 am. The soldier shot his colleague manning the post, before committing suicide. “There was an argument between the two over duty,” said the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe told The Hindu, when asked about the incident.
In March this year, three soldiers returning back after a routine patrol last night were found dead. Later it was confirmed that there was an argument and one soldier killed the two others before shooting himself. Last December, a soldier shot dead his company commander before he was overpowered in Jaffna. That was the first instance of a soldier turning against his own people after the end of the war with the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.
The Army had taken a series of steps soon after the end of the war to counsel its soldiers. Gen. Hathurusinghe himself travels the length of his Command and talks to soldiers in groups. “We have brought in experts after the last incidents and these measures are on. Regular counselling is also being organised with the help of clinical psychologists, and psychiatric evaluations of personnel was also being carried out,” he said.
The police have registered a case. The Army has constituted a Court of Inquiry.