Midshipman Yoshitha joins Dvora crew

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second son, midshipman Yoshitha is serving on board Fast Attack Craft (FAC) deployed in the eastern theatre of naval operations.

Yoshitha, who is expected to pass out early this year as an Acting Sub Lieutenant, recently returned from the UK after his initial training. State-run ITN Saturday night quoted the young man in combat fatigues as saying that he had obtained his father’s approval after the government urged the youth to join armed forces.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday declared that his son had joined the navy along with thousands of youth who responded to the government’s call to strengthen the battle against the LTTE. Addressing a large gathering in Kandy, the President emphasised the importance of the contribution made by the new recruits to defeat terrorism.

Navy headquarters told The Island that Midshipman Rajapaksa had been attached to the Fleet and was under training as a member of the crew assigned to an Israeli built Dvora FAC. The sources said that there was a sea training component in both cadet and midshipmen training and once completed, Rajapaksa would be considered a fully fledged officer, although he would have to specialise in a selected field.

The navy has deployed a large force, including FACs and Offshore Patrol Craft (OPVs) off the Mullaitivu coast as the army gradually advances on the remaining LTTE bases located east of the A9 road. The LTTE has been boxed into an area north and south of a section of the Paranthan-Mullaitivu road with the navy mounting a large scale operation off the north-eastern coastline to cut off access to the sea.

With 55, 58, 57 and 59 Divisions and Task Force III, TF II and TF IV successfully engaging LTTE defences on multiple fronts, the 26-year-old war was rapidly coming to an end, military sources said.

On Saturday morning (January 31), the navy had rescued 43 Tamil civilians fleeing from the clutches of the LTTE.

The navy, deployed on the Mullaitivu seas, had detected two fibre glass boats as they moved southwards of Mullaitivu. They had been already moved to Pulmoddai.

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