Kabir: Suspect released by police due to powerful politician’s intervention carried out Easter attack

Kabir Hashim

One of the suicide bombers, who carried out the Easter Sunday attacks, had been released from police custody a few months back due to pressure from a powerful politician, Minister Kabir Hashim revealed, yesterday.

Fielding questions, Petroleum Resource Development Minister Kabir Hashim told The Island that following some incidents in the Mawanella area, Intelligence had unearthed cache of explosives at Lacktowatta in Wanathawilluwa, Puttalam. During the raid two key suspects were captured. However, due to the intervention of a powerful politician, they had been released and one of them had been involved in Sunday’s attacks, the Minister said.

In January, the CID obtained a three-month detention order from the Defence Secretary to interrogate those arrested with some 100 kilos of explosives and 100 detonators in Wanathawilluwa.

The suspects, including the owner of the land where some of the explosives were found buried, were arrested by the CID.

The CID also recovered 20 litres of nitrate acid, fuse wire, two firearms, a stock of ammunition, a computer, a camera and a stock of dry rations.

Minister Hashim said his secretary had been shot by the extremists in retaliation for the police raid on their hideout.

This haul of explosives was recovered following investigations carried out on the telephone numbers found in a mobile phone of a suspect arrested over the incident where Buddha statutes were vandalised at Mawanella in January.

Minister Rajitha Senaratne, yesterday, said that international intelligence agencies had warned the government, on April 04, of an impending attack in the country.

He told a media briefing at Temple Trees, that the Chief of National Intelligence had warned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the attacks before April 11. “We are waiting for the President to remove the IGP,” he added.

Hashim also said that the Prime Minister and the State Minister of Defence had not been invited to National Security Council (NDC) meetings since December last year.

Minister Senaratne claimed that the NSC had not complied with a request for a meeting with the Prime Minister on Sunday morning.

Commenting on Sunday’s attacks, Hashim said that a local organisation identified as the National Tawheed Jamath was suspected of plotting Sunday’s explosions. He added that all suicide bombers were believed to be Sri Lankans. “We are conducting investigations to find out whether there have been any foreign links.”

(Source: The Island – By Ifham Nizam)