Easter massacres, police chief and former defense secretary arrested

The two high officials are accused of negligence: they failed to transmit terrorist warnings issued by the Indian secret services.  On the contrary, they accuse President Sirisena: "He never took our warnings seriously".


 Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Sri Lankan police have arrested their boss, Pujith Jayasundara (photo 2), and former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando (photo 3).  The two senior state officials are accused of not having alerted the security organs and thus favored the Easter massacres against three churches and three hotels in Colombo.  The massacres, carried out on a festive day, caused the death of 258 people and the wounding of another 500.

The police spokesman said that the main accusation was that they had acted negligently.  Their attitude, he adds, has led to carrying out "crimes against humanity", and for this "they deserve to be indicted for murder".

In fact, after the carnage of April 21, it emerged that the Indian intelligence services had issued three terrorism alerts in the weeks preceding the attacks, which were ignored by the leaders of Sri Lanka.  The first warning dated back to 4 April;  the last one a few hours before the explosions.

Indian information warned the authorities in Colombo about the activities of Zahran Hashim, leader of the National Thowheed Jamath fundamentalist group (Ntj) author of the attacks.  According to the secret services in Delhi, the terrorist, who died in the massacres, had long been probing the possibility of creating a faction of the Islamic State (which claimed responsibility for the massacres) between South India and Sri Lanka.

After the attacks President Maithripala Sirisena himself had been forced to admit, not without embarrassment, that he had received no warning from the police.  For this he asked for the resignation of both arrested: Fernando resigned a few days after the massacre;  Jayasundara instead refused, and for this reason was suspended.

For their part, the two senior officials claim to have alerted the president's office, but Sirisena never "took the threats seriously".  The president insists instead that he never received the alerts.  He is also Minister of Defense and Public Order, therefore responsible for state security.