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Sri Lanka acting President seeks help for probe of Easter Sunday attacks

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Image: Agencies

Sri Lanka’s Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said that he is requesting the assistance of the UK Government and their intelligence services because a proper Easter Sunday investigation has not been carried out which indicates that the issue has not been fully resolved.

The Acting President said that he is requesting assistance owing to the incomplete nature of the Easter Sunday investigations, Daily Mirror reported.

On April 21, 2019, three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the capital Colombo were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings.

Over 250 people were killed and scores suffered injuries. A local terror group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath had claimed responsibility for the devastating attacks.

The island nation was put under a state of emergency for a period of four months from April to August.

According to the government, a total of 676 persons were arrested in connection with the Easter attacks, of whom 202 remain in remand custody, 66 have been detained for questioning, and 408 released on bail, yet investigations on them are continuing.

Wickremesinghe issued a special statement saying that the country’s economy had collapsed and the country was having power cuts that lasted for 5 hours a day when he was appointed as the Prime Minister on May 13.

Relief is being provided to the people who are still struggling with the economic crisis, he added. The Acting President further mentioned that the deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was nearing conclusion.

He said that the Executive Presidency is responsible for the current political crisis in the country and many issues that the citizens are facing will be addressed following the re-introduction of the 19th Amendment.

The Acting President added that the elements which attempt to disrupt the peace in the country will be prohibited from disrupting the country’s progress, local media reported.

The statement added that the government would engage with peaceful protesters who had legitimate concerns and a way out will also be found. Wickremesinghe urged the political parties to put their differences aside and form an All-Party Government that would allow the country to recover from the economic crisis.

Sri Lanka has been facing the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, leading to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas, and fuel across the island nation.