Sri Lanka bans Islamic groups, NTJ and JMI linked to Easter bombings

ECONOMYNEXT   – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena had decided to ban two Muslim organizations linked to Easter Sunday bombings which killed more than 500 people, his office said.

National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI) will be banned using newly invoked emergency laws.

Members of NTJ and JMI carried out Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo, authorities said.

NTJ was set up in 2011 in Kaththankudy in Eastern Sri Lanka in 2011 by Zahran Hashim, believed to be the leader of suicide bombers, intelligence officials have said. It may have had about 40 to 50 members. In 2017, he had gone gone into hiding after a conflict with another person called Rauf Maulavi.

Military officials said he was believed to have been in India for a significant amount of time.

A man called Thowfeek had later led the organization and Zahran was driven out, according to officials.

JMI was believed to have been set up in late 2015. Zahran had maintained close links with the JMI officials said. Officials estimate that JMI had about 135 members, and about 39 were extremists.

The more extreme members of both organizations are believed to have been involved in suicide bombings.

Zahran was believed to have died in the bombing of Shangri-La along with another bomber, Ibrahim Insaf Ahmed.

Zahran may have killed himself to be martyred and serve as a source of inspiration, intelligence officials believe. (Colombo/Apr27/2019 – Update II-SB)