Sri Lanka appoints temporary army chief as Fonseka recovers from suicide attack

July 9, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has appointed a temporary army chief to fill in for Sarath Fonseka who is in Singapore for medical treatment after surviving a suicide bomb attack in April, the army said Sunday. Fonseka’s deputy, Major General Nanda Mallawarachchi, was named the acting army head on Friday, an army spokesman said.

“This is a temporary arrangement until the return of General Fonseka,” the spokesman said.

Fonseka was wounded in an April 25 suicide bomb attack inside the tightly-guarded army headquarters in the capital.

The attack, which killed 11 people, was carried out by a woman pretending to be pregnant.

Official sources said the acting appointment indicated a longer than expected recuperation for Fonseka who became army chief in December.

The army’s number three officer was killed in a suicide bomb attack in June. The government has blamed the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have waged a separatist insurgency since 1972, for both attacks.