ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka will ban 11 extremist organisations which allegedly contributed directly and indirectly to create the background that led to the Easter Sunday attacks, Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara told Parliament this morning.
Opening the debate on the report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCol) into the Easter Sunday Attacks, he said that due to the lack of coordination and communication between security agencies the former government had missed out on 9 occasion which they could have prevented the Easter Sunday attack on April 21, 2019.
“Before the Easter Sunday attack, several incidents happened around the country, if they were properly analyzed and the suspects arrested there was a good chance the attack could have being prevented,” he said.
Some of the incidents revealed by the Minister in which extremist terrorists were involved before the Easter Sunday attacks include the bombing of the office of the National Movement for Good Governance in Kattankudy in 2018, Brother of Zahran Hashim, Rilwan Hashim getting badly injured in the same year while experimenting with explosives in Batticaloa, killing of the two Police officers in Vavunathivu and vandalizing of Buddha status in Mawanella.
Moreover, he said that 676 individuals have been arrested within the country so far related to the Easter Sunday attacks out of which 200 are imprisoned, 66 are being currently detained and questioned and 408 have being released on bail.
He also said that after the current government came to power 99 persons who were directly or indirectly involved in the Easter attacks were arrested within the country while 35 Sri Lankans living abroad was also detained.
Further, he said that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) was able to extradite 50 individuals from overseas by coordinating with 5 foreign intelligence services who had nurture extremism in those countries and provided funds for such activities in Sri Lanka.
“Four other individuals will also be extradited to Sri Lanka after they complete the court proceedings in those countries,” he added.
Weerasekara said that since 2018, the Dematagoda Ibrahim brothers Inshaf and Ilham had provided funds, vehicles and other facilities needed for the activities of Zahran worth close to Rs 50 million from their businesses.
He said that Ilham who was a suicide bomber at Shangri-La has given Rs 37 million from their businesses to Zahran’s brother Rilwan to plan the attacks and provide other facilities required out of which Rs 5 million was found 5 days after the Easter attack in the Sainthamaruthu house.
The Minister also said that investigations have also revealed Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Naufer who is currently in custody has connected Zahran with the ideology of the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was killed in 2019.
“Investigations revealed that Naufer has ideologically handled Zahran up until the attacks, Naufur has being identified as the main fundamentalist and the one who directed Zaharan to violence,” he said.
Mentioning some of the measures which the government has taken to prevent present and future threats to national security, he said that the wearing of the Burqa will be banned in the near future, a common marriage and divorce law applicable to all citizens in the country will be introduced and the rehabilitation of youths with extremist views carried out.
“We should not condemn a certain religion but religious extremism, this attack was motivated by Wahhabism and not by the Islamic religion,” the minister said.(Colombo/Mar10/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe Edited by Arjuna Ranawana