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Won't runaway, won't be intimidated, won't resign till I crush terrorism: President Sirisena

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday said he won't step down and leave or be intimidated in crushing the terrorism from the country and those responsible for the April 21 bomb blasts, in which over 250 people were killed, would be brought to justice.

Speaking at a public event in the eastern district of Ampara, he also said that after receiving the interim report on the lapses by the officials that led to the Easter Sunday blasts, he suspended the police chief and also replaced the Secreatry to the Defence Ministry.

Over 250 people, including 44 foreigners 10 of whom were Indians, were killed and 500 others injured in the blasts in three churches and as many hotels on April 21. The Islamic State terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ).

Sri Lanka banned the NTJ and arrested over 100 people in connection with the blasts. A state of emergency was imposed in the country since the attacks and sweeping powers were given to soldiers and police to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.

"I won't resign, I won't go home or be intimidated, I will not rest until I crush terrorism," he said addressing a public event in the eastern district of Ampara today.

Attacking the Opposition deamding his resignation following the blasts, Sirisena said almost all European capitals were attacked by the ISIS terrorists but "people in those countries never asked their leaders to step down or resign."

Sirisena came under sharp criticism for failing to prevent the terror attack by the NJT as the Minister of Defense and the Commander-in-Chief of the defence forces, despite receiving tip-off from Indian intelligence agencies.

The lapse was also blamed on the power struggle within the government where Sirisena and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe do not see eye to eye.

Sirisena said that the security forces have almost crushed the threat from the Jihadists and asked the people to carry out their normal business.

The President said he effected a revamp of the security establishment after the attacks and appointed a new secretary to the defense ministry in addition to suspending the police chief.

The Committee, headed by a Supreme Court judge, is expected to submit a report next week, to fix the alleged negligence by the officials.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 11 2019. 22:26 IST
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