Sri Lanka to question ex-minister over suicide jacket find
By Our Police Correspondent
Mar 31, 2016 13:42 PM GMT+0530 | 4 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka’s police will be asked to interview former foreign minister G. L. Peiris in connection with the latest discovery of a suicide jacket and other war-like materials from the Jaffna peninsula, defence secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said today.
He said Wednesday’s discovery at Chavakachcheri in the Jaffna district was part of a routine find, but investigations were focusing on claims by former minister Peiris that the explosives were to be brought to Wellawatte for a high profile attack.
"Since professor Peiris says he has information about this incident and specifically that the explosives were to be brought to Wellawatte, it would be useful to get a statement from him about his information," Hettiarchchi told reporters at the information department.
Wednesday’s discovery has sparked opposition allegations of a "breakdown in security."
Former President Mahinda Rakapaksa's MP son Namal reacted to the police announcement calling it a breakdown in security and suggesting that there could be a suicide attack.
"The government must take responsibility for this breakdown in security. Not only has crime increased in Sri Lanka, now this," he said on twitter.
After the authorities announced that the discovery was fairly routine with the security forces finding unexploded ordnance and explosives from the war zone and that it was no indication of a new threat, Namal was vehement.
"If it's not a threat to national security, then to whom is it a threat? What must be their motivation?," he replied on twitter.
Official sources said the explosives had been wrapped in a Sinhalese newspaper dating back to 2007 and the package looked from about that period. The use of the Sinhalese newspaper as wrapping is a red flag for investigators.
Former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had always maintained that the Tamil Tigers posed a threat of regrouping and rearming themselves despite crushing their leadership by May 2009.
The fear of a Tiger resurgence was the justification for Rajapaksa to retain draconian laws to curtail individual freedoms across the country.
The discovery of the explosives also comes in the wake of military intelligence officials being accused of carrying out the abduction of pro-opposition cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda just before the January 2010 presidential polls.
Police have made one arrest.
(COLOMBO, March 31, 2016)