Strengthen security

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena Monday said the emergency laws in the country will be lifted within a month as the security situation is “99 per cent back to normal” after the deadly Easter suicide bombings. While this certainly instils hope, all steps should be taken by Lanka and other countries in South Asia to ensure terror doesn’t strike the region again. Sirisena thanked Colombo-based diplomats from the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, the US and European countries for the intelligence expertise and cooperation provided by those countries.

In a statement, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said he expressed his gratitude to the international community for the cooperation and assistance provided to Sri Lanka at this time of need and urged them to continue to provide economic assistance and lift the adverse travel advisories issued to tourists.

Sirisena explained to foreign ambassadors that he could guarantee that the security situation in Sri Lanka was “99 per cent ensured”, his office said. Sri Lanka imposed the emergency 23 April to crack down on the network of the nine suicide bombers who attacked three churches and as many luxury hotels 21 April, killing 258 people and injuring 500 others.

The ISIS terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government blamed the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) for the Easter Sunday bombings. The emergency laws gave the police and the military extensive powers to arrest, detain and interrogate suspects without court orders. “The emergency was essential because of the ongoing operations conducted by the security forces and the President expressed confidence that the emergency could be lifted at the end of the one-month period,” Sirisena’s office quoted him as saying. President Sirisena emphasised that the current successful operations and the assistance of foreign expertise on Intelligence could eliminate the threat of terrorism. That is precisely the need of the hour.

NT Bureau