MPs defy Sirisena to resume probe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:54 AM, June 12, 2019

SECURITY LAPSES OVER EASTER ATTACKS

MPs defy Sirisena to resume probe

Sri Lanka’s parliament yesterday defied President Maithripala Sirisena and resumed an investigation into security lapses surrounding the Easter suicide bombings that killed 258 people, officials said.

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) began hearing testimony from Muslim leaders who claimed they repeatedly alerted the authorities to dangerous radicalisation, a parliamentary official said.

President Sirisena last week asked his coalition cabinet to halt the hearings, which have already revealed senior police and security officials directly under him had ignored repeated intelligence warnings.

Sirisena sacked his intelligence chief over the weekend after he told the hearing that the April 21 attacks could have been avoided if police had been allowed to arrest the ringleader as early as last year.

An Islamic State-inspired local jihadist group has been blamed for the suicide attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels. Among the dead were 45 foreign nationals, while nearly 500 people were injured.

Since the attacks, the country has been under a state of emergency which gives sweeping powers to the police and security forces to arrest and detain suspects for long periods of time.

Sirisena has insisted that as minister of defence and law and order he was unaware of precise intelligence warnings from India.He sacked his defence ministry secretary, Hemasiri Fernando, and suspended police chief Pujith Jayasundara after blaming them for the catastrophic security failure. Both have denied responsibility.

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