12/02/2023, 13.12
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Man who failed to foil Easter bombing to head Colombo police

by Melani Manel Perera

Appeals unheeded: President Wickremesinghe appointed Deshabandu Thennakoon, whom the same local commission of inquiry into the massacres accused of negligence, as inspector general of Sri Lanka's police. The Catholic Church: "An insult to the victims of the attacks."

Colombo (AsiaNews) – “We strongly reject the nomination of Deshabandu Thennakoon. This decision is the greatest insult to the victims of the Easter 2019 attacks, a barbaric act," says Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Colombo.

He was commenting on the decision of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday to officially appoint Deshabandu Thennakoon as Inspector General of the Sri Lankan Police. A step that the Catholic Church had repeatedly asked to avoid, since the general is accused by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry itself of serious responsibility in the failure to prevent the terrorist attacks against churches and hotels which in April 2019 led to the death of 273 people.

“If people like the new Inspector General of Police had done their duty correctly, these innocent people would still be alive today - said Fr. Fernando - It is evident that the president's appointment is aimed at safeguarding the interests of several power-hungry individuals within his circle, including the minister responsible for public security and the police."
The archbishop of Colombo, Card. Malcom Ranjith, and the Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops' Conference had urged the president, through letters and petitions, to refrain from nominating Thennakoon. The fact that this appeal was not heard once again raises the urgency of an international commission of inquiry into the many shadows surrounding the reconstruction of the 2019 massacres.

Sri Lankan public opinion is divided on Thennakoon: some praise the general's experience and competence, stating that they will be invaluable in leading the police force and implementing strategies to reduce crime; others express concerns about his alleged links to the former Rajapaksa regime, questioning his impartiality. Assuming his duties, the new police chief said he will give priority to safeguarding national security and cracking down on drug trafficking and organized crime in the country.



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