Rift between security units foiled intel sharing before attacks – witness

Rift between security units foiled intel sharing before attacks – witness

Rift between security units foiled intel sharing before attacks – witness

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

16 Jul, 2020 | 6:17 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): A rift between two security and intelligence units had obstructed the sharing of intelligence information before the terrorist attacks on April 21 last year, a presidential commission heard on Thursday.

Nalaka de Silva, a former deputy police chief of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) told investigators that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) had not passed intelligence information to his unit for investigations.

He said during an intelligence review meeting in September 2017, the TID had sought details from the SIS after it was informed that more than 100 members from the FETO terrorist group in Turkey had arrived in Sri Lanka.

“I did not receive the information until my term ended,” de Silva, who was transferred from his post in 2018 after being accused of plotting the assassination of high-profile individuals, told the commission.

He said he was unaware whether the SIS had investigated the matter.

De Silva told the commission that, in 2018, the SIS had informed the TID to stay away from investigating a person suspected to be from the Al-Qaeda extremist group who had arrived in the country.

“The Deputy Director of the SIS Sampath Kumara told me not to disturb their investigations,” he recalled.

The presidential commission also heard that the TID had failed to inform all police stations regarding a warrant issued for the arrest of Zahran Hashim, who was later identified as the mastermind behind the attacks.

The warrant was obtained in 2018 and could be used by any police officer in the country to apprehend Zaharan Hashim who was in hiding at the time, de Silva conceded.

Meanwhile, the witness citing unofficial sources, alleged that the former President had awarded State Intelligence Service officers for their services after the carnage.

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