By Rathindra Kuruwita
NTJ members, including its leader Zahran Hashim, who had taken part in a Jihadist training programme in Nuwara-Eliya, on May 8, 2018, had gone scot-free as the Nuwara-Eliya Police failed to find any incriminating evidence, the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks has been informed.
The Police had arrived at Thakhila Holiday Inn, where Zahran had his training camp, at around 4 pm, and those undergoing training were still in the premises. The police were alerted in the morning by a resident.
An Officer attached to PCoI police unit, SI Sanjeewa Sampath of CID told the PCoI that a resident had informed former IGP Pujith Jayasundara that a suspicious group was at the guest house.
“Thilakaratne Ilesinghe, a resident who lives close to Thakhila Holiday Inn, where Zahran conducted his training camp, had initially tried to contact Nuwara Eliya Police. But his attempts to contact them had failed, so he called former IGP Pujith Jayasundara,” the Officer said.
The representative from the Attorney General’s (AG) department, who led the evidence, asked the witness how the resident had found the IGP’s contact number.
The witness said that the resident had noted down the IGP’s contact number from a television programme telecast earlier.
“In the statement, Ilesinghe mentioned that those who stayed in the lodge did not go out unlike others who come to visit Nuwara Eliya,” Sampath told the Commission.
The witness said in the statement Ilesinghe had also mentioned that although he had informed the police of the suspicious group, the police had only come around 4pm in the evening to search the lodge.
“In the statement Ilesinghe said that three police officers came to conduct the search operation in a patrol car, but they were unable to find anything suspicious in the guest house,” SI Sampath said.
Investigation officer also said that during their inquiry they found that Zahran had conducted preachings related to Islamic extremism and his associates had given lectures on weapons training and manufacturing bombs.
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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