• Monday, Jun 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Saudi Arabia repatriates Sri Lankans in connection with Easter attacks

  • Published at 01:33 pm June 14th, 2019
Sri Lankan military stand guard outside St Anthony's church during a service attended by the Easter Sunday attack survivors on the occasion of the reopening of St Anthony's church in Colombo on June 12, 2019 AFP

This is the second time that suspects had been arrested abroad in connection with the attacks

Five Sri Lankans wanted in connection with the Easter bombings that killed 258 people were arrested in Saudi Arabia and repatriated Friday, police said.

Correcting his earlier statement that the men were seized in Dubai, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the suspects were taken into custody in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

Among them was Mohamed Milhan, a senior leader of the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) jihadist group, which was held responsible for the April 21 bombings, Gunasekera said.

Milhan was also wanted in connection with the November killing of two police constables in the east of the island where NTJ leader Zahran Hashim had his base. 

"A team of Criminal Investigations Department officers brought the suspects back to Sri Lanka this morning," Gunasekera said. No further details were immediately available.

This is the second time suspects have been arrested abroad in connection with the attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels in the country, which were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Last month, army Chief Mahesh Senanayake said two suspects were arrested in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He did not disclose the nationalities of the suspects, but official sources said they were Sri Lankans.

Sri Lankan authorities have arrested just over 100 people who had links with the NTJ and its leader Hashim who was one of two suicide bombers who attacked the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since the attacks which also left 45 foreign nationals dead and wounded nearly 500 people.

There have been recriminations over the failure on the part of police and security forces to act on advance warnings of the impending attacks.

Top intelligence and police officers have told a parliamentary panel investigating security failures that the attack could have been avoided if the authorities had acted on intelligence provided by neighbouring India.

India had on April 4 warned Sri Lankan authorities that a suspect in their custody had revealed detailed plans to stage a deadly attack in Sri Lanka targeting Christian churches among others.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the minister of defence and law and order, has sacked his intelligence chief, secured the resignation of the defence secretary and suspended the police chief after blaming them for the attacks.

They in turn have said Sirisena ignored security protocols and should take the blame for the major lapses that allowed the suicide attacks.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail