One of the Thowheed Jamaat tagets: Katuwapitiya Church
By Rathindra Kuruwita
A separate investigation had to be carried out as regards Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel, who blew himself up at Tropical Inn, Dehiwala after failing to detonate at his first target, Taj Samudra hotel, Colombo, former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.
Jayawardena said that Colombo had been locked down after the coordinated attacks targeting luxury hotels and churches around 8.45 am on April 21, 2019. Jameel having failed to carry out the attack on Taj Samudra hotel had taken a taxi and gone to Tropical Inn, Dehiwala.
Jayawardena said that there was a doubt as to whether Jameel had blown himself up or if the bomb had exploded while he was examining it.
“There are questions about the incidents and they have to be investigated separatedly. I will reveal certain facts with regard to the whole attack in camera,” Jayawardena told the Commission.
He said that on April 21 morning he had received a message from one of his informants saying that one of the targets was a Methodist Church in Colombo and the suicide attacks were likely to be carried out between 6 and 10 am.
After receiving the above message he contacted SDIG – Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe and asked whether he had deployed officers around Colombo, as the informant had already confirmed that the attacks were imminent.
“I asked him to check Maradana, Panchikawatta and Kochchikade areas in Colombo. I thought those areas were vulnerable. SDIG Munasinghe said he had already deployed officers on duty to those areas,” he said.
“By sharing all the intelligence received from April 04, 2019 onwards from foreign counterparts and what the SIS found, we thought we could save at least one life,” Jayawardena said.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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