Monday, June 24, 2019 09:44:08 AM

Easter bombers on Sri Lanka payroll: Muslim leader

By Rantburg - Thu Jun 13, 4:00 am

[DAWN] The bully boyz behind Sri Lanka’s deadly Easter bombings received funding from state intelligence services, a top Moslem leader told a parliamentary investigation.

The comments by Azath Salley, who quit last week as governor of Western Province, added to evidence of massive security failings before the April 21 attacks that killed 258 people.

The bombings were led by Zahran Hashim, a radical who broke from the Sri Lanka Thowheeth Jama’ath (SLTJ) to form an holy warrior group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ).

Salley told the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that he repeatedly told President Maithripala Sirisena to take action against the group.

“The defence ministry paid the Thowheeth Jama’ath. The police worked closely with the Thowheeth Jama’ath,” Salley said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Salley said the former government of Mahinda Rajapakse in office until 2015 funded Thowheeth Jama’ath through military intelligence, a practice continued by the new administration.

Salley said that the funding was to spy on other groups.

Salley also said that a week before the attacks, he met with top defence officials to warn them about the activities of the Lions of Islam and impending dangers.

“If the police had taken action on the information I provided at the time, we would have been able to avoid this disaster,” he said….

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