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FBI identified Naufer Moulavi as Easter carnage mastermind – Public Security Minister

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Hakeem points finger at Israeli Intelligence

By Saman Indrajith

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekara told Parliament yesterday that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had identified Naufer Moulavi as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Making a special statement to the House in response to a statement by Attorney General Dappula de Livera, Minister Weerasekera said that according to the investigations carried out by the Sri Lanka Police and US detectives, it was clear that Moulavi had masterminded the terror attacks on 21 April, 2019, killing 270 persons and wounding another 500.

 “Naufer is the person who brought the IS ideology to Sri Lanka and roped in Mohamed Zahran in 2016,’ the Minister said, adding that it had been confirmed by the statements given by Zahran’s wife.

Minister Weerasekera said that it was Naufer who carried out IS training programmes in Sri Lanka and evidence from his documents and laptop support that conclusion. It was Moulavi who prepared the curriculum and course content of those IS training programmes. In addition, he supervised the training camps in Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota.

“Moulavi gave his sister-in-law in marriage to Zahran,” said the Minister adding that the FBI investigation also proved Moulavi was the main player in the attacks.

The Minister said it had come to light that several foreigners were involved in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks and that an Australian national of Sri Lankan origin, Luqman Talib, had already been arrested in Qatar.  Lankan intelligence agencies had uncovered links between Thalib and Al-Qaeda and IS. “Thalib has two sons and one son is already under house arrest in Australia. Sri Lankan forces have also traced four Maldivian suspects who financed the National Organiser of the Jamaat-e-Islami organization, Sadik Abdullah, and provided weapons manufacturing equipment. There is no need to have any doubt over the investigations on the Easter Sunday terror attacks.”

Nine cases had been filed against 32 suspects so far and necessary steps would be taken to file cases against the other suspects as well, the Minister said.

SJB Gampaha District MP Dr Kavinda Jayawardana said Mohamed Naufer, Mohamed Anwar Mohamed Riskan and Ahamed Milhan Hayathu Mohamed had been charged last month in a federal court in Los Angeles. But there were cases against them here yet. “In addition, the Attorney General has mentioned that there is a conspiracy behind these investigations. We as Catholic MPs have a serious problem when people question these statements and developments. We hope that either the Minister of Public Security or the Minister of Justice will explain to this House the actual situation with regard to the investigations.”

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said that there were reports that Israeli intelligence services had a hand behind the Easter Sunday attacks and its mastermind. Facts related to this and that Israeli intelligence connection were mentioned in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks, he added. “Please check these facts and study those reports. There is an innocent poet called Altaf Nazim. He is being held for publishing a poetry book, which contains nothing related to terrorism. Please, get the book translated and see its content. Many international organisations including Amnesty International have written to the government in this regard. Public trust in investigations is eroded when you prosecute innocent people. I also want to say that the case against Hejaaz Hizbullah is totally fabricated. He is held on statements forcibly obtained from children. He is a lawyer and past student of S. Thomas’ College. When you go after the innocent you cannot capture the real culprits.”

Minister Weerasekera: All those who are spaking now were the MPs or Ministers of the Yahapalana government which should be held responsible for the crime of weakening our intelligence and letting this tragic incident happen in spite of warnings. When the SIS recommended the arrest of Zahran in 2018, the then government authorities neglected that. Had Zahran been arrested then nothing of this sort would have happened. Therefore, all those in that government should be held responsible for the crime. There had been 10 incidents prior to the April 21 attacks, but no arrests had been made.

SJB MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara: It is wrong. It was during our government an open warrant for the arrest of Zahran was obtained. The conspirators are in the government.

Minister Weerasekera: MP Hakeem mentioned Hejaaz Hizbullah. The latter was the one who operated the Save the Pearl organisation under which he gave lectures to indoctrinate Muslim youth to the terror outfit. We have evidence of his lectures brainwashing them to make them terrorists. Zahran and Naufer Moulavi too had conducted lectures on suicide attacks to children. Those lectures were organised by Save the Pearl.



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Haiti police riot after crime gangs kill 14 officers

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Protesters attempted to break into the Haitian prime minister's residence (picture BBC)

BBC reported that Rebel police officers rioted in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday following the killing of more than a dozen colleagues by criminal gangs.

The rioting officers blame the government for not taking action.

More than 100 demonstrators blocked streets, burned tyres, broke security cameras and damaged vehicles.

Local media said several officers broke through the gates of the prime minister’s residence and attempted to enter Haiti’s international airport.

Fourteen officers are thought to have died since the start of the year in various gang attacks on police stations.

Seven officers were killed in shootout on Wednesday alone, according to Haiti’s National Police.

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Gold-covered mummy among latest discoveries in Egyptian tomb

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One of four newly discovered tombs at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo (picture BBC)

BBC reported that archaeologists say they have found a gold leaf-covered mummy sealed inside a sarcophagus that had not been opened for 4,300 years.

The mummy, the remains of a man named Hekashepes, is thought to be one of the oldest and most complete non-royal corpses ever found in Egypt.

It was discovered down a 15m (50ft) shaft at a burial site south of Cairo, Saqqara, where three other tombs were found.

One tomb belonged to a “secret keeper”.

The largest of the mummies that were unearthed at the ancient necropolis is said to belong to a man called Khnumdjedef – a priest, inspector and supervisor of nobles.

Another belonged to a man called Meri, who was a senior palace official given the title of “secret keeper”, which allowed him to perform special religious rituals.

A judge and writer named Fetek is thought to have been laid to rest in the other tomb, where a collection of what are thought to be the largest statues ever found in the area had been discovered.

Several other items, including pottery, have also been found among the tombs.

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Health crisis: GMOA calls for WHO intervention

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Alleging the government has failed to address the developing crisis caused by grave shortage of pharmaceutical drugs, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has called for WHO’s intervention.In a letter dated January 26, 2023, addressed to WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge has raised concerns about shortage of pharmaceutical drugs, escalating prices of medicines and allegations of malpractices and corruption in procurement procedures.

The GMOA has released its letter to the media along with what it called a 10 fold plan formulated by an expert committee set up by the GMOA.

The following are the GMOA’s proposals:

1. To appoint a high-level coordinating committee within the Ministry of Health to ensure effective communications and coordination between following institutions, identified as responsible for the whole exercise. (a) Ministry of Health focal points (b) Medical Supplies Division (MSD) (c) State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) d. State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) e. National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) Monthly progress review meetings of aforementioned committees are to be ensured, with Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Health or his representative. Quarterly review with Minister of Health to facilitate arriving at essential policy decisions.

2. To ensure Transparent Procurement Procedures, where every interested citizen should be entitled to know the true facts.

3. To upgrade the available computer software programme to match the current needs and to ensure more efficiency in procurement procedures.

4. To appoint a technical committee to study Auditor General Reports with regard to procurement Procedures of last 5 years and actions to be declared with specific time frame to implement recommendations of the Auditor General.

5. Review the recent Presidential Investigation Commission reports and initiate urgent actions to file legal action against the respondents. Remove all those officials who are accused through these reports of malpractices, from their current posts, until the verdicts are delivered.

6. To minimise emergency purchases of Medicinal drugs and ensure the transparency of that process through progress reports on emergency purchases, which is to be published on a monthly basis.

7. To identify alternative modes for distribution of pharmaceutical drugs to peripheral stations (e.g.: Public Transport services with identified modifications)

8. To open an “Information Desk” at the Ministry of Health to effectively communicate with and guide the donors of pharmaceutical items.

9. To fill the existing vacancies at National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), following stipulated acceptable pathways and activating all the sub committees within NMRA.

10. To declare a relief package to reduce the prices of essential medicinal drugs, through the upcoming interim budget.

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