- 13 Safe houses seized
- 41 bank accounts frozen
By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
A large number of terrorists had already been arrested, out of which, 12 were hard-core members, President Maithirpala Sirisena told Parliament yesterday.
He said that 13 safe houses belonging to those who were responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage had been taken over by the security forces, while 41 bank accounts belonging to the terror group have been freezed.
Speaking during the debate on Easter Sunday attacks in the House, the President said that all terrorists who were connected to the Easter Sunday attacks would be arrested within the next three days.
The President also revealed that the terror groups had paid Rs 2 million to each, who had provided minimum support to them. He said forces had recovered a total of Rs 18 million of these funds. “I have done the maximum to enable security forces to carry out operations after the attacks on April 21 2019. I have taken steps to reorganize the intelligence services and the Police,” he said. “Police did not have the power even to confiscate illicit liquor before I took over the Law and Order Ministry under my purview,” he said. The President lauded his predecessor, Leader of Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa, for providing proposals on reorganizing the security establishments. He said other political leaders should also provide proposals on the action that could be taken to crush terrorism. He said it is time to stop pointing fingers at each other.
“Some attack me as if I am the leader of the terror groups, which wreaked havoc on Easter Sunday. Everyone should understand that I am the sixth Executive President of this country. It should be noted that bombs went off even during the tenures of five former Executive Presidents. We lived through bomb explosions during the 30-year old war,” he said.
“I spoke to my Secretary from Singapore as soon as I was told about the attacks and briefed him what to do. I also talked to the Prime Minister over the phone that day. I summoned the Security Council meetings several times and invited Prime Minister and religious leader such as Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to participate,” he further said.
“No one can predict as to when global terrorists would strike. Not even President Trump, President Putin or Prime Minister Modi could predict when the global terrorists strike,” he stressed.
“All terrorists connected to the Easter Sunday attacks would be arrested within the next three days”
Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena at a meeting held yesterday at the Presidential secretariat, with the Diplomatic Community reiterated that the security situation in the country has come back to normalcy, and assured further that within the next few days the threat of terrorism would be completely wiped off from the country.
The President also said that during the past two weeks the security forces had successfully conducted a closely knit operation against terrorism and coupled with the decisions taken by the government relating to the National Security the entire operation to thwart the clandestine activities of this terrorist outfit had proved very successful. He urged the Diplomatic community to take steps to lift the travel advisories imposed on their countrymen from visiting Sri Lanka.
He also said that police and other security units have been deployed near schools, government institutions and in places where public tends to gather, and also the formation of special security committees, with the participation of the police and the Tri forces and also a special security plan is in place for the protection of tourists. The President said that all Muslims in the country cannot be held responsible for the terrorist attacks and an environment where they can live in peace should be created while a mechanism to ensure reconciliation among all communities in the country has to be introduced.
He observed that racist and religiously extremist propaganda unleashed through the social media has become a hindrance to the efforts to build a peaceful society. Diplomats pointed out the need of the government to intervene to put an end to the intimidating posts spread over the social media.
President Sirisena stated that the second interim report of the special committee of inquiry appointed to look into the security lapses that paved the way for the terrorist attacks had been received by him and it would be forwarded to the Attorney General for further steps.