Sri Lankan president asks police chief, defence secy to quit
COLOMBO, Apr 24: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the police chief and defense secretary to quit following the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 359 people, two sources close to the president said on Wednesday. The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter amid accusations within the government of intelligence failures ahead of the attacks.
Senior officials deliberately withheld intelligence about possible attacks on Sri Lanka, where a rash of suicide bombings on Easter Sunday killed at least 359 people, the leader of parliament said on Wednesday. "Some top intelligence officials hid the intelligence information purposefully. Information was there, but the top brass security officials did not take appropriate actions," Lakshman Kiriella, who is also minister of public enterprise, told parliament.
He said information on possible suicide attacks on churches, hotels and politicians were received from Indian intelligence on April 4 and a Security Council meeting was chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena on April 7, but the information was not shared more widely. "Somebody is controlling these top intelligence officials," the minister said. "The Security Council is doing politics. We need to investigate into this."
Separately, Sarath Fonseka, former army chief and minister of regional development, told parliament he believed the attacks "must have been planned for at least 7-8 years".
More than 60 people have been arrested since the rash of Easter Sunday suicide bombing attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed at least 359 people, the leader of the country's parliament said on Wednesday.
Lakshman Kiriella, who is also minister of public enterprise, said more than 100 people were likely to be arrested, without giving further details. The toll in a series of suicide bomb blasts on Easter Sunday targeting hotels and churches in Sri Lanka has risen to 359, police said Wednesday.
The additional deaths were the result of the wounded dying of their injuries. At least 500 people were injured in the attacks. The blasts have been claimed by the Islamic State group, with Sri Lanka's government pointing the finger at the little-known local Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath, but saying the group likely had "international" help.