The president orders an investigation into allegations that some intelligence officials were aware of and met with people who carried out bombings in 2019.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered an investigation into allegations that some members of state intelligence agencies were aware of and met with people who carried out Easter Sunday bombings in 2019, which killed more than 260 people, a government official said.
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka wrote to the president on Tuesday to express concerns about the government’s handling of the suicide bombings and to ask him to investigate alleged links between intelligence personnel and the group that led to term the attacks.
Two local Muslim groups that had allegedly declared allegiance to the ISIL group (ISIS) carried out six coordinated attacks on churches and major tourist hotels, killing 269 people.
Another man did not carry out a planned attack on a fourth tourist hotel, but later committed suicide by detonating the bomb in a different location.
The letter from the Catholic National Committee for Justice to Victims of Easter Sunday Attacks, a group of bishops and priests led by Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranjith, called on the president to take legal action against former President Maithripala Sirisena for negligence , as recommended by a report chairman of the commission of inquiry.
The Sirisena government received strong criticism for not acting on near-specific foreign specialization warnings about the imminence of an attack.
Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Wednesday that all the findings of the commission have been handed over to the competent authorities.
“There are so many things flowing and the best the president can do is refer them to the competent authorities,” Rambukwella said.
“The President has referred them to all competent authorities for further action.”
The church group also said former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should be investigated because the report concluded that his soft approach to “Islamic extremism” had sparked the attacks.
The letter also indicated that the authorities have not taken legal action against 11 police officers, two officials from the Attorney General’s department and two Muslim politicians appointed by the commission.
Several lawmakers have spoken in parliament and cited witnesses who appeared before the commission saying members of state intelligence agencies met with the man who withdrew from the initial attack before committing suicide.
The letter from church officials quoted speeches in parliament as saying that intelligence personnel had allegedly released a police custody suspect.
The report of the presidential commission has not been made public. A single volume was delivered to legislators and the full report was handed over to the Attorney General’s Department for processing.