The Kattankudy police raided a building located on a large tract of land believed to have been used by the 'National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ), a group now identified as an extremist outfit, for its operational and training activities.
The police, backed by the Special Task Force (STF), conducted the raid on Sunday (5) where one individual had been arrested. He has been identified as Yasith Bawa Abdul Rauff, 43, a resident of Kaduruwela, Polonnaruwa.
A senior police officer said that this centre had been used as a base for making bombs, testing them , target practice and other illegal activities, investigations revealed. Three pipes used to manufacture explosives had also been recovered. The security forces suspect that these bombs were used in the blasts that occurred, while a similar bomb was found next to the security fence of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) recently.
Police said that Mohamed Rilwan, the brother of NTJ leader Mohamed Zahran, had been injured in 2018 when a bomb accidentally exploded during a training session conducted at this venue. A senior police officer said that Rilwan had been treated at a nearby hospital for two months after being admitted. Due to the severity of the injuries he sustained Rilwan had lost sight in one of his eyes as well as several fingers. This was revealed by the individual who was arrested yesterday at the training facility, Abdul Bawa.
The usual procedure to be followed by hospital authorities when a victim of a bomb blast is admitted is to inform the police of the fact. However, this had not happened. The lapse on the part of the hospital management was being looked at by the investigators.