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Month after deadly Easter attacks, Sirisena calls for collective action against terror


ANI Asia
Over a month after the deadly Easter Sunday attacks claimed more than 250 lives in Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday called upon all countries across the world to come together to fight and defeat the menace of terrorism.
"Terrorism takes place in many forms all over the world. Some countries have domestic terrorists. Political and religious extremists organise extreme activities all over the world. No matter how international terrorism takes place, it affects all," he told reporters here.
The Sri Lankan leader said, "All the countries of the world must join hands against terrorism. Whether they are powerful nations or small nations, all must get together against terrorism. It is only then will we able to defeat it," he said.
Asked about the controversy over he not being informed about a possible terror attack in Sri Lanka, Sirisena said, "A clear report was sent by Indian intelligence agencies about a possible attack. On April 4, the information was passed and letters and correspondences were exchanged between the defence chiefs and secretary on the matter. I was in Singapore when the attack took place."
He said, "I was in Sri Lanka from April 4 to April 16, but none of the defence chiefs had informed me. Had I known about the attacks, I would not have left my country. I would have taken the necessary steps. That is why I sacked the IGP and defence secretary for this lapse."
Sirisena said, "We received support and cooperation from international agencies of friendly nations. India, the UK and the US were some of the countries which came into our aid at that time. So far, the probe shows us that it was an attack perpetrated by a terror group."
Security forces and intelligence agencies worked hard to bring the situation under control and normalcy to return to Sri Lanka within three weeks after the April 21 attacks, he said.
"We were successful in bringing the country back to normal within a time period of three weeks. Our security forces and intelligence organisations managed the situation very well. Tourists have started coming into our country and many nations have revised their travel advisories which were negative at that time," he added.
The bombings targeted three high-end hotels and an equal number of churches across the country. According to Sri Lankan authorities, a local terror group linked to the Islamic State was behind the attacks.
The Sri Lankan President said that he has appointed an investigation committee headed by a judge of the country's top court to identify whether any shortcomings had taken place on the part of the security forces. Action would be taken against the guilty based on the findings of the panel, he said.
Sirisena said people connected to the attacks have been apprehended. The security forces and intelligence agencies are carrying out a thorough probe, he added.
Quoting investigation reports, Sirisena said terrorists who carried out the attacks received training in countries where global terror groups are operating.
Sirisena attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Thursday and held a bilateral meeting with him today.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 6:55 PM IST

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