Explosives which were similar to those used for disastrous attacks by members of National Thowheed Jama'ath (NTJ), had been found in the two safe houses located at Sammanthurai and Nintavur on April 26, 2019, after the Easter Sunday attacks, the current SSP of the Moneragala Police, former Senior Superintendent of Ampara Police Division, Samantha Deepal Wijesekara informed the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks yesterday.
Testifying before the Commission, SSP Wijesekara said that the Police had found 119 substances which could explode, from the Sammanthurai safe house while another 91 items had found from the Nintavur house.
The witness said that the police had found a large amount of gelignite in both the aforementioned safe houses.
"On further investigation we found 181 containers of gelignite from the Sammanthurai safe house. Investigating further, we found that those were obtained from rock quarries functioning in the Kurunegala area," witness informed the Commission.
About four quarry owners were questioned and it was found that the use and distribution of gelignite is not properly recorded.
"Once the Ministry of Defence issued a batch of gelignite, it is assumed that everything is used. There is no accounting for what is unused," SSP Wijesekera said.
SSP Wijesekara said that three key incidents connected to the previous Easter Sunday attacks happened on April 26, 2019.
The Commission was informed that after the Easter Sunday attacks, the police, STF, Army and State Intelligence Service (SIS) officials in the East had collaborated to identify and arrest the extremists connected to attacks.
Witness testified that an officer of the SIS informed him that there was need to search a house in Addalaichenai. "During the raid the police and the STF found pen-drives, external hard disks and the birth and marriage certificates of Zahran's brother, Mohammed Zaini," SSP Wijesekara said.
Witness also said that the SIS officer informed him about various items transferred from Panadura and Negombo safe houses and stored at the Sammanthurai and Nintavur safe house in the Ampara District.
"These safe houses in Ampara District were rented out by Mohamed Niyaz who was later found dead after the Saindamarudu explosion," witness said.
SSP Wijesekara said that the police had obtained Niyaz's phone number from the owner of the house and called him. "He answered the call and he was coming. But later we found that phone was switched off. I ordered the bomb disposal unit to break the gate of the garage and enter it," he said.
Witness said that the STF officers had found an outfit similar to the ones worn by the Easter Sunday suicide bombers in a video which showed them pledging allegiance to ISIS, from the garage.
"We also found mobile phones, SIM cards, a laptop, 95 unused pen-drives, a large quantity of iron balls from ball bearings, and four Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras," witness said.
Witness further revealed that they had found eight gas masks, a large amount of processed, semi-processed and unprocessed electric circuits, 250 kilogrammes of urea, gloves, cans containing nitrate acid and sulfuric acid and switches used in suicide kits, from these two safe houses. (Yoshitha Perera)