Wednesday, 19 June, 2019


Sri Lankan president sacks intelligence chief over Easter attacks probe

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena has refused to allow any police military or intelligence personnel to testify say officials. — Reuters  File Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena has refused to allow any police military or intelligence personnel to testify say officials. — Reuters File
Bennie Garza | 11 June, 2019, 19:13

Sri Lanka's president has sacked the national intelligence chief and will not cooperate with a parliamentary investigation into security lapses before the Easter suicide bombings, officials said Saturday.

Sirisena said last week that he had met with the national police chief and his top brass 13 days before the Easter Sunday attacks but no officer had raised the warnings which had been relayed by India.

Sirisena was reportedly upset over Mendis being grilled by the committee and the session being open to press.

Evidence before the parliamentary select committee, which began its publicly televised sittings late last month, has placed Mr. Sirisena in a poor light, suggesting that he failed to act on advance warning of the attacks.

Sirisena's office did not comment on the outcome of the heated Cabinet meeting, but said the president had told senior police officers yesterday that he will not allow any serving officer to testify before the PSC.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena speaks during a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents Association at his residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 25, 2018.

The crisis erupted ahead of a visit to Sri Lanka by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

Seven Sri Lankans who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State group blew themselves up at three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21. During Modi's brief stopover in Colombo, the PM is likely to take up the issue of terrorism with Sri Lankan President.

"We now assess that the risk to British people in Sri Lanka has reduced enough for us to make this change", the UK High Commission said.

"We know how hard these weeks have been for everyone in Sri Lanka who relies on tourism for a living".

"But we hope that the change we have made today will help Sri Lanka's recovery from the Easter Sunday attacks, and to efforts to build a safe and inclusive future for everyone". The two Churches came under attack on that fateful day. However, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe have both said that they were not informed about it before the April 21 attacks.

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