January 19, 2020
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    May 08, 2019

    President Maithripala Sirisena said the members in the terror group that instigated the Easter Sunday attacks was around 150 and 99% of them had been arrested by now. The President told Parliament that many of the terror suspects involved in the Easter Sunday attacks have been taken into custody.“Of those taken into custody 56 have been identified as those with links to terror groups and of them, 12 are identified as the most dangerous. The security forces have so far found 13 safe houses and 41 bank accounts used by the terrorists. Those bank accounts have now been frozen, President Sirisena said.
    In his statement during the Parliamentary debate on the security situation in the country he said, action has been taken to confiscate the bank accounts, property and assets of those involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. “The terror group had paid two million each to those who supported it. However, I have no intention of spelling out the two letter name of the terrorist outfit because no leader of a state would do so.
    This terrorist organisation has been established against the Western civilization. It is against Christianity, the Church and the Cross. They are against the US and white men. Their target is to hoist their flag in the Vatican.” However, the President said that as authority had been entrusted to the security forces to carry out their duties without hindrance, the situation has been brought under control and normalcy has been restored in the country. President Sirisena said that he had instructed the security forces to eliminate all those terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday attack.
    President Maithripala Sirisena also noted that he had ensured the participation of the opposition politicians in the National Security Council.He said that he not only allowed Opposition MPs but also the members of the entire Cabinet to participate in NSC meetings. In addition Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith too had once sat in the council, the President said while participating in the two day debate on the current security situation in the country.
    The President said that he received the reports of the Easter Sunday attacks around 10 am while he was in Singapore. “I could not imagine that the attack had been carried out by an international terror group. Around noon of the same day I was shown a letter circulated on social media which had been written by a DIG. When I saw that letter I realised that our security forces knew of the attack beforehand. Thereafter, I decided to appoint a Presidential Commission to find out who is responsible for the security lapse. Before leaving Singapore I contacted the Secretary to the President and instructed him to appoint an investigating body. It was appointed before the NSC meeting on April 22. I gave instructions from Singapore to the Prime Minister and the heads of national security on how to face the situation. We have taken all necessary measures during the last ten days to mitigate the damage and to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents,” the President said.

    He noted that on April 24, he had met 53 members of the Colombo-based diplomatic corps on the situation and the action taken by the government. “I met with police top brass on April 24 where I instructed them on how to proceed with their investigations. According to intelligence reports the number of these extremists is less than 150. We must have faith on our security forces and the intelligence operatives. I have instructed them to make use of the provisions of the Emergency regulations.
    I have given them all the power to carry out their operations. As the Army Commander said, they had asked for a push bicycle but I gave them a motorcycle,” President Sirisena said. He said that at the time he took over the police under his purview, it was in disarray. “This disaster took place after four months since I took over the police. During the last three years the police had been deprived of their powers and some police stations could not even carry out raids on moonshine dens as they did not have the facilities and power.
    There were 30 police stations without a single vehicle for their duties. I gave a facelift to the police and ensured that they have all the facilities to carry out their duties efficiently.” The President called upon the people not to harbour animosity and not to be afraid. “We have already nabbed 99 per cent of terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday carnage. Within three more days we will arrest the rest of them,” he assured.

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