Suicide bombers were Lankan nationals, says govt spokesman

Colombo: Sri Lankan government has reportedly claimed the National Tawheed Jamath, a local outfit, is suspected to be behind the deadly serial blasts in the island nation. About 290 people were killed and 500 injured in the worst terror attack in the country’s history.

Rajitha Senaratne, Health Minister and the government spokesman, has informed that all suicide bombers involved in the blasts are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals. National Tawheed Jamath is a radical Muslim group and is said to have international links to them.

He also claimed that the Chief of National Intelligence had warned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) about the probable attacks on 9 April. Senaratne said that there was a major security lapse and also sought resignation of police chief Pujith Jayasundera.

Rauff Hakeem, a government minister and the leader of the main Muslim party – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said that it was lamentable that no preventive action had been taken despite the inputs.

Rajitha Senaratne

“They have known this…, the names have been given, identified, but (they) took no action,” he added. Two Sri Lankan Muslim groups – the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama and the National Shoora Council – have condemned the blasts and offered condolences to the Christian community. They have urged that all culprits be brought to book.

Seven suicide bombers targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zeon Church in Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. Blasts also occurred in three five-star hotels in Colombo – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury. Even though no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, the police have so far arrested 24 people.

NT Bureau