Security meetings before April attacks held sans top officials

Security meetings before April attacks held sans top officials

Security meetings before April attacks held sans top officials

Written by Muaad Razick

09 Jul, 2020 | 9:22 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Security meetings before last year’s April 21st attacks were held with the absence of top officials including the Prime Minister, an army intelligence officer has said.

National Security Council (NSC) meetings had mostly taken place when the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was overseas, the officer said testifying before a presidential commission.

The identity of the officer who testified before the commission that is probing the April 21st attacks, on Thursday, was not revealed.

The then president Maithripala Sirisena had convened NSC meetings without notifying the Prime Minister and the Inspector General of Police through the defence secretary, according to the officer.

He added that national security had dropped following the 52-day government change in October 2018.

The officer told the commission that the former government focused more on reconciliation, and ex-secretaries  of defence Kapila Waidyaratne and Hemasiri Fernando showed no regard to certain sensitive matters pertaining to national security.

In his testimony, the officer said he met with Zaharan Hashim, the mastermind behind the attacks, in 2013 to compile a thesis for higher educational purposes.

However, he noted that he decided not to publish the report as Hashim had extremist ideologies.

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