Colombo slams West, rejects foreign probe into Easter blasts
Nine suicide bombers from to the National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) were behind a series of blasts that tore through three Catholic churches and as many luxury hotels in 2019
SRI LANKA president Ranil Wickremesinghe has ruled out having an international-aided independent probe into the 2019 Easter bombings that were carried out by a local Islamist extremist group.
Nine suicide bombers from to the National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ), linked to Daesh (Islamic State group), were behind a series of blasts that tore through three Catholic churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21, 2019, killing nearly 270 people and injuring more than 500.
Britain’s Channel 4 aired a documentary in September, titled ‘Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings – Dispatches’, alleging the involvement and complicity of certain government officials, including intelligence service chief Major General Suresh Sallay, in orchestrating the 2019 Easter suicide bombings. The programme called the attacks a “crafted act” aimed at forcing a political change in favour of the thenpowerful Rajapaksa brothers.
Wickremesinghe said this week Sri Lanka will not permit any international inquiry into the Easter blasts.
“It is out,” he said. “The Sri Lankan government does not have international investigations. Full stop. Few people may want (it), but parliament doesn’t,” he told the German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in an interview. Referring to an FBI report on the terror attack, Wickremesinghe said, “No one outside was involved.”
“We had the FBI, we had the British police, the Australians, Indians, Chinese and the Pakistanis. If those secret services have given reports, what are these allegations?” he said.
The president accused the West of double standards in calling for an international investigation in Lanka.
“Germany does not have such inquiries. The UK does not have such inquiries. What international inquiries have they gone into? Why is it for Sri Lankans and Asians? You think we are second class?” Wickremesinghe asked.
“You need to take this Western attitude out. The Western media thinks we are bad. The way we have an inquiry is by using Sri Lankan personnel,” he said.
Wickremesinghe has pledged to appoint a parliamentary select committee to investigate allegations that the attack was a conspiracy. The president also said his government has rejected the “wrong” report of the UN Human Rights Commission.