Two Sri Lanka government officials have charged that some intelligence officials were aware of the deadly Easter attack plot 10 days before it happened. There are conflicting reports about whether police had been warned.
Latest casualty figures had 290 fatalities and more than 500 wounded in the bomb attacks on three churches and three luxury attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning.
According to the Daily Mail, police have said they will investigate reports coming out regarding the failure of the intelligence community to issue warnings of the terror plan. It seems however, that police were indeed warned and that the failure to act on the warning is on their hands.
Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted: “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.” His tweet included documentary evidence of pre-knowledge with a headline stating, “Information of an Alleged Plan Attack” with a date stamp of April 11.
Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night pic.twitter.com/ssJyItJF1x
— Harin Fernando (@fernandoharin) April 21, 2019
Fernando also said that his father had heard from an intelligence officer about the pending danger and warned him not to enter popular churches.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe confirmed late on Sunday that the nation’s intelligence groups had in their possession warnings about possible suicide bombings at “prominent churches” 10 days earlier. However, he did indicate that police had been warned and that top officers had been given the information.
Wickremesinghe told reporters the morning of April 22 that the warning to Sri Lanka’s police had not been acted upon and that the information had not been passed to him.
“We must also look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe said.
Another government official, Mano Ganeshan, minister for national integration, said that security personnel within his organization had been warned of the possibility that suicide bombers would target politicians.
The blasts were characterized by Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena as a coordinated terrorist attack by religious extremists, with most believed to be suicide attacks. The explosions were mostly in or near Colombo, the capital and largest city of Sri Lanka, an island country in the Indian Ocean.
According to the Epoch Times, the alert that had reportedly been sent out to high-ranking police officials said:
“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo.”
The NTJ is a radical Islamic group in Sri Lanka. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The defense minister said that the attackers have been identified but their names will not be released to the public for security reasons.
Minister @RWijewardene addressing the press just now says action will be taken to stop activity of all extremist groups in the country. Social media temporary banned. 12 hour curfew from 6pm. The Dehiwela n Dematagoda blasts seem to be by those in the ring running from the law.
— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) April 21, 2019
State Minister/ Defence @RWijewardene urges media not to publicise names of today’s attackers. He warned other extremist groups could exploit situation & create tension between communities. “Don’t give extremists a voice. Don’t help to make them martyrs” #EasterSundayAttacksLK
— dharisha (@tingilye) April 21, 2019
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said he feared the massacre was intended to trigger instability in Sri Lanka. He vowed to “vest all necessary powers with the defense forces” to take action against those responsible. Reports indicate that at least 13 people have been arrested and are in custody.
Most of those killed were Sri Lankans. At least 27 foreigners are among the dead, including citizens of the United States, Britain, India, China, Japan, and Portugal.
— pray for sriLanka (@_azaam__) April 22, 2019
I still can’t get over this image from Sri Lanka.
Very many of us will have gone to church yesterday, without fear. But for millions of Christians around the world, worship is dangerous. In 2018, more than 3,000 Christians were killed, twice as many as in the previous 12 months. pic.twitter.com/lg1fCmfd0f
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) April 22, 2019
Extremely pained to hear about the attacks in Sri Lanka. A really sad innocent which affected so many lives.
200+ innocent were killed for their faith. This hate is ruining the world!
— Razi (@StudentOfAhmad) April 22, 2019