Colombo, Oct 6 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that he was ignored by the country’s ex president Maithripala Sirisena while convening the national security council that discussed the country’s security situation before the Easter Sunday attacks.
Nine suicide bombers belonging to local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday last year, killing 258 people, including 11 Indians.
The previous government headed by Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was blamed for its inability to prevent the attacks despite the prior intelligence made available on the impending attack.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who pledged an independent probe in the incident during his election campaign in November last year, continued with the same panel appointed by then president Sirisena after assuming office.
“I did not attend the national security council meeting ever since Sirisena had sacked him on October 26 2018,” Wickremesinhe said while testifying before a panel probing the incident. In what was known as a constitutional coup, Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2018.
Although later, Wickremesinghe came to be reinstated by Sirisena after a court intervention, the rift between the two was widely seen as the cause for the government failure to act on prior intelligence to prevent the suicide bombings carried out by the local Jihadi group, NTJ.
As part of the probe, Sirisena on Monday appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter Sunday attacks and denied he was privy to prior intelligence on the deadly terror strikes. PTI CORR RUP RUP RUP RUP