Sri Lankan president sacks intelligence chief over Easter attacks probe

Cheryl Sanders
June 11, 2019

On Thursday, he told the committee the attacks could have been prevented.

President Maithripala Sirisena said he sacked Sisira Mendis after he appeared before a parliamentary committee investigating the Easter Sunday blasts in April. Top Indian intelligence officials said information shared at the highest level between the two countries indicated that Mendis was sacked after Sri Lankan agencies failed to act on specific inputs about the terror plot.

The President handed over Rs. 2.5 million financial assistance to the families of the police officers who were killed in the April 21 attacks.

In his May 29 testimony to parliament, intelligence boss Sisira Mendis said security council meetings were irregular, making it hard to properly protect the island nation.

"Any public servant summoned by the PSC [Parliamentary Select Committee] is obliged to give evidence", Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said in a two-page response to Mr. Sirisena. Halfway through the testimony, the live telecast of the proceedings was stopped on the president's orders, officials said in Colombo.

President Sirisena made these comments at the monthly meeting with the senior officials of the Police Department held at the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon (07). Mr. Sirisena called an emergency Cabinet meeting on Friday to oppose the legislature's investigation into the attacks.

Sri Lanka witnessed a series of eight coordinated explosions in several locations including three churches and three luxury hotels.

Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since the attacks.

Sirisena said last week that he met with the national police chief and his top brass 13 days before the attacks but no officer raised warnings passed on by India.

The latest crisis erupted ahead of a visit to Sri Lanka by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

The government has admitted there were intelligence failures before the attacks, in which 45 foreign nationals died.

Among the officials questioned so far are the Defence Secretary, intelligence chief, Police chief and former Defence Secretary.

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