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Sri Lankan President Asks Defence Secretary, Police Chief To Resign Over Easter Sunday Bombings

Addressing the nation, the President said he had decided to make drastic changes in the security establishment over the next 24 hours.

Sri Lankan President Asks Defence Secretary, Police Chief To Resign Over Easter Sunday Bombings
A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in the blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan President Asks Defence Secretary, Police Chief To Resign Over Easter Sunday Bombings
outlookindia.com
2019-04-24T18:11:01+0530

 Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has asked Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara to resign over the Easter Sunday suicide terror bombings that killed 359 people, including foreigners.

The request was made following pressure exerted on the Government over its failure to prevent the deadly suicide bombings on Easter Sunday.

 President Sirisena had on Tuesday insisted that he was in the dark with regards to an intelligence report warning of suicide attacks in Sri Lanka.

Former Army Commander Daya Ratnayake is being considered for the post of Defence Secretary.

 Addressing the nation, the President said he had decided to make drastic changes in the security establishment over the next 24 hours, the Colombo Gazette reported.

 Sirisena, who is also Minister of Law and Order, said that if he was alerted in advance he would have taken steps to prevent the attacks from taking place.

 He said that he will take stern action on those who failed to inform him of the intelligence report.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena said the  Easter Sunday suicide bombers were from well-to-do families and were well educated. 

 Speaking at a media conference today, Wijewardena said that some of the suicide bombers had been educated overseas.

 “We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and later Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Wijewardena said that investigations revealed that the group was earlier involved in damaging Buddhist statues in Kegalle this year.

 He said that prior to the Easter Sunday attacks the group had been operating from two safe houses, one in Negombo and one in Panadura.

 The State Minister said that the attacks had been planned from these safe houses.

 Wijewardena also maintained that, based on Sri Lankan intelligence services, the Easter Sunday attacks were motivated by the New Zealand mosque attacks in March.

 Meanwhile, security officers carried out a controlled explosion in Pettah in the afternoon.

 Security officers had taken steps to dispose a suspicious motorbike which had been parked in the vicinity of the Gas Paha junction.

 On Tuesday, police requested vehicle owners to make their phone numbers available on their vehicles when parking it on a street.

Security forces also defused another bomb found inside a bag in Katana today. The bomb was defused in a controlled explosion.

In a related development, all post offices have been instructed to accept parcels which are packaged only in the presence of an official at their respective post offices.

Postmaster Ranjith Ariyaratne told the public that they may be required to remove the packaging of parcels packed outside or such parcels may also be refused at times.

Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, were involved in the massive Easter Sunday bombings, and 60 people have been arrested so far for suspected involvement.

 Suicide bombers, believed to be members of a local Islamist extremist group, carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

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