'Ex-Sri Lankan president should take responsibility for 2019 Easter Sunday carnage'

Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena should take the sole responsibility of the coordinated 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara said, adding that the massacre that killed over 250 people was well planned

Sep 26, 2020
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Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena should take the sole responsibility of the coordinated 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara said, adding that the massacre that killed over 250 people was well planned.

He made the remarks while testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), set up to probe the attacks, on Friday, reports The Daily Mirror newspaper.

Jayasundara told the PCoI that after he had received the report about the April 9 intelligence alert from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena, he had forwarded it to SDIG of Western Province Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG Crimes, STF Chief M.R. Latif, DIG Special Protection Range Priyalal Dassanayake and Director of Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) Waruna Jayasundara.

He said that he also telephoned all SDIGs in charge of the respective provinces.

The former IGP claimed that although he had given specific instructions about the possible terror attack to all the senior police officers, during investigation it was found that all his call records were deleted.

"Former President Sirisena's brother was the head of the Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel during this period. The Commission should probe thoroughly to find what had happened to these call records," Jayasundara said.

He also claimed that his phone conversations had been tapped by the SIS and also deployed officers near his residence to monitor him.

Jayasundara added that Abdul Latif Jameel Mohammed, who killed himself at the Dehiwala Tropical Inn Lodge, had met intelligence officers 45 minutes before the blast.

The former IGP's testimony comes after Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne said last month that security agencies received 97 warnings prior to the attacks, The Daily Mirror reported.

On April 21, 2019, three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo and the hotels -- Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Tropical Inn -- in the capital city were targeted in the series of coordinated suicide bombings, which apart from the victims also injured more than 500 people.

Sri Lankan authorities attributed the attacks to little-known local Islamist extremist groups, National Thowheeth Jama'ath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.

However, the Islamic State terror group claimed the attacks.