Sri Lanka attacks: Prime minister orders inquiry into 'prior information' held by police

Ranil Wickremsinghe also urges probe into foreign ties of local militant group

Jon Sharman
Monday 22 April 2019 00:25 BST
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Sri Lankan military stand guard inside a church after an explosion in Negombo on 21 April
Sri Lankan military stand guard inside a church after an explosion in Negombo on 21 April (Reuters)

Sri Lanka‘s prime minister has demanded an investigation into apparent intelligence failures before the Easter bombings that killed more than 200 people.

Ranil Wickremsinghe acknowledged that his government had received prior information of the attack, but that ministers were not told.

There had not been an adequate response, he said, and an inquiry was necessary to find out how the information was used.

He also said the government needed to look at the international ties of a local militant group.

The Agence France Presse news agency reported that it had seen documents showing that police issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.

Chiefs cited a foreign intelligence service as reporting that a little-known Islamist group was planning attacks.

A Sri Lanka police spokesman said he was not aware of the intelligence report.

Local Christian groups have said they faced increasing intimidation from some extremist Buddhist monks in recent years.

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Last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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