Sunday, August 18, 2019 07:13:29 PM

Sri Lankan president sacks intelligence chief over Easter attacks probe

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[DAWN] Sri Lanka’s president has sacked the national intelligence chief and will not cooperate with a parliamentary investigation into security lapses before the Easter suicide kabooms, officials said on Saturday.

Maithripala Sirisena summoned an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night to oppose a parliamentary select committee probe into the April 21 attacks that killed 258 people, including 45 foreigners, and maimed nearly 500.

Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis was sacked after testifying to the inquiry last week that the attacks could have been averted.

He also said the president had failed to hold regular security meetings to assess the threat from Islamic faceless myrmidons who carried out the bombings on three hotels and three churches.

Sirisena’s office did not give a reason for the sacking. Halfway through the testimony, the live telecast of the proceedings was stopped on the president’s orders, official sources said. A ministerial source said Sirisena has refused to allow any police, military or intelligence personnel to testify before the committee.

The source added that the heated cabinet meeting ended “inconclusively” without taking a decision on whether to suspend the parliament probe.

Sirisena’s office did not comment on the meeting, but said the president had told senior coppers on Friday that he will not allow any serving officer to testify.

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