says there had been miscommunication
By Yoshitha Perera
Police received intelligence report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) with regard to the incidents pertaining to coordinated terror attacks, only after the Easter Sunday bomb blasts on April 21, 2019 and Sainthamarudu safe house explosion on April 26, 2019, former Senior DIG of Eastern Province Kapila Jayasekara informed the PCoI yesterday, which probes the Easter Sunday attacks.
Responding to a question raised by a Commissioner, Mr. Jayasekara said that there was no regional coordination between the institutions attached to police before the Easter Sunday attacks.
“Police attached to Eastern Province had never received any information with regard to the rising of Islamic extremism or Zahran’s terrorist activities conducted in Kattankudy,” he said.
Mr.Jayasekara said that as the SDIG attached to Eastern Province, he had not received the foreign intelligence report with regard to possible terror attacks received on April 4, 2019 or the details pertaining to Sainthamarudu safe house explosion.
He said that during the beginning of his tenure as the SDIG in Eastern Province, Zahran was only a suspect who had been issued with an open warrant in connection with a case involving an Islamic sect.
“Because Zahran was also another suspect who had a warrant pending against him, the Police in the area did not pay special attention on him. There were nearly 500-600 pending warrants during that period and Zahran was also one of those suspects. My duty was to arrest all the suspects who were issued with arrest warrants,” the former DIG said.
Former SDIG said that he received information to the effect that Zahran fled Kattankudy in March 2017 and there was no intelligence linking him with ISIS terror activities.
“There was no tension in the Eastern Province at the time I served as the SDIG and the police had never received complaints with regard to Islamic extremism,” he said.
A Commissioner, then asked the former SDIG Jayasekara whether he admitted the fact that there had been a negligence from the police and a failure in the intelligence services which had allowed Zahran to operate freely.
Responding to the question, Mr. Jayasekara said that it was not a failure and the police in the area acted according to their knowledge. “It was not a failure but there was miscommunication,” he said.
The Commissioners then asked as to why the SDIG of the Eastern Province was not informed even though logically he should have been first on the list of those who should have been informed of a possible attack by the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) as Zahran’s group was based in the Eastern Province.
Foeme DIG Jayasekara added that he had not been informed of such an attack and assured the Commission that he could have acted upon the information if that had been promptly provided.