Sri Lankan police chief, defence secretary sacked for inaction
24 April 2019
Sri Lanka has sacked its police chief and defence secretary for inaction on their part and for deliberately withholding intelligence about possible terrorist attacks, after a rash of suicide bombings on Easter Sunday killed at least 359 people.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today asked the police chief and defence secretary to quit following the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 359 people, two sources close to the president said.
Lakshman Kiriella, minister of public enterprise and leader of the House, told parliament, “Some top intelligence officials hid the intelligence information purposefully. Information was there, but the top brass security officials did not take appropriate actions."
He, however, declined to name those involved because of the sensitive nature of the matter.
He said information on possible suicide attacks on churches, hotels and politicians were received from Indian intelligence on 4 April and a Security Council meeting was chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena on 7 April, but the information was not shared more widely.
"Somebody is controlling these top intelligence officials," the minister said. "The Security Council is doing politics. We need to investigate into this."
Separately, Sarath Fonseka, former army chief and minister of regional development, told parliament he believed the attacks "must have been planned for at least 7-8 years".
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday said that some people with explosives are on the run and more attacks are possible in the country. He added that the investigators are making good progress in regard to identifying the culprits.
The Islamic State has, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for the bombings. Sri Lankan deputy defence minister said that the blasts were retaliation for New Zealand mosque attack. The multiple bombings, which shook Sri Lanka on Sunday, claimed lives of 359 people.