SRI LANKAN President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday said an alert about a possible terror attack was sent by Indian intelligence agencies to their Sri Lankan counterparts 17 days prior to the April 21 bombings but he was not informed about it.
“Had I known about a possible attack, I would have taken necessary steps to prevent it,” Sirisena said during a media interaction. He was here to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. Sri Lanka was hit by a wave of bombings on Easter Sunday in which over 250 people were killed.
“A clear report had been sent by Indian intelligence to the state intelligence agencies of Sri Lanka about the possibility of an attack. The Indian government sent the information on April 4,” he said.
Sirisena said he left for a foreign trip on April 16 and till then he was not informed about the Indian intelligence report, although there had been exchanges and correspondence on the issue between the defence secretary and the then inspector general of police. “Had I known it, I would not have left the country,” he said.
“This is a great shortcoming from our defence secretary and that is why I have removed defence secretary and inspector general of police from their respective offices,” he added.
Sirisena said necessary disciplinary and legal action will be taken against the guilty based on findings of the ongoing investigation into the matter.
Sirisena also confirmed that Prime Minister Modi is expected to travel to Colombo on June 9.
According to sources, he will be travelling to the Maldives on June 8 and will stop over in Colombo for a few hours on his way back to Delhi. Sirisena told reporters that Sri Lanka was eagerly waiting to welcome the Indian leader.
While responding to questions on the Easter Sunday terror attack, he said he had not received any report that the suicide bombers involved in the terror attacks had travelled to India.
Sirisena said his government has received support from India, the UK, the US and few other countries in the investigation into the bombings. “The investigation has found that the perpetrators of the attack operated under an international organisation. The Sri Lankan terrorists had obtained training in countries where other terror groups are operating,” he said.
Modi held a bilateral meeting with Sirisena during which both leaders noted that terrorism continues to pose a threat to humanity.
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