Once charged with killings, ex-Sri Lanka navy chief made provincial governor Sri Lankan Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda (L) and visiting British Royal Navy Admiral and fleet Commander-in-chief Jonathon Band (R) pose for pictures at the Sri Lanka Navy Headquarters in Colombo, on 02 June 2006. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)
A FORMER Sri Lanka navy chief previously charged over a spate of killings during the island’s long civil war was last Thursday (9) named a provincial governor.
The investigation into Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda cast a spotlight on extrajudicial murders during the 37-year conflict, which ended in 2009.
He was one of 14 people accused of abducting the teenage children of wealthy families and killing them after extorting money.
Authorities dropped the charges in October, prompting an outcry from human rights groups.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – who served as defence chief in the final years of the war – appointed Karannagoda governor of North Western Province, a press release said.
Four charges had been laid against Karannagoda including conspiracy to murder, which carries the death penalty.
Investigators believe the true number of victims from the abductions and killings to be at least three times higher.
Police said the victims were not linked to ethnic Tamil separatist rebels and were kidnapped purely to extort money from families. Some were killed even after cash was handed over.
Military figures have been widely accused of extrajudicial killings during the war.