Sri Lanka to probe international links of Easter bombers
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will seek international help to probe foreign links of Islamists who were blamed for bombing churches and hotels in a co-ordinated attack killing around 300 people and injuring over 500.
"The intelligence agencies have reported that there were international organizations behind these acts of local terrorists," a statement from the office of the President said.
"Hence, it has been decided to seek international assistance for investigations."
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Monday foreign leaders and the diplomatic community had offered help.
President Sirisena will also meet foreign ambassadors to seek assistance.
A foreign intelligence agency had warned Sri Lanka of an impending attack on churches and local intelligence had also followed up, but no action had been taken at higher levels to use the information, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
Paris based INTERPOL said it was deploying an incident response team with specialists in explosives, crime scene examination and disaster victim identification and analysis to assist Sri Lanka.
Checks were also being carried out with the help of its data bases to help track international links.
Sri Lanka had already arrested over two dozen suspects which included some named in intelligence reports earlier, Minister Senaratne said.
Some named in reports had died on Sunday he said.
Sri Lanka blamed an organization called National Thowfeeth Jama’at, a self-styled Islamist nationalist organization for the attacks. The group was earlier linked to vandalizing Buddhist statues.
Sri Lanka is fertile recruitment ground for international Islamists with the Muslim community coming under fire by domestic nationalists. Sri Lankan nationalists linked to extremist Buddhist groups have also attacked Christian churches before.
Islamists, however, had been radicalizing groups in many counties even when there was no discriminating including in Muslim majority countries. (Colombo/Apr23/2019-SB)