Written by Hassaan Shazuli
17 Jul, 2020 | 10:16 pm
COLOMBO (News1st): Matters regarding Islamist extremism and the ISIS terrorist group were discussed at National Security Council meetings since 2015, a former police chief said on Friday.
“We discussed on how the activities of the ISIS would affect Sri Lanka,” former Inspector General of Police (IGP) N.K. Illangakoon told a presidential commission probing the 2019 April 21 attacks.
He added that information regarding the activities of extremist or violent groups that were operating in Sri Lanka had not been discussed during security meetings at that time.
“The closest to that as informed by the State Intelligence Service was hate speech published online by Zahran Hashim,” the police chief who retired in 2016 told investigators.
Zahran Hashim was identified as the ringleader of last year’s terrorist attacks, that killed at least 267 and injured more than 500.
The witness said that during his term in office, a committee was appointed under Senior DIG Nandana Munasinghe comprising security and intelligence agencies to investigate Islamist extremist groups.
Meanwhile, the former police chief told the commission that the 2014 communal riots in Beruwala could have been prevented if intelligence information had been communicated to the officers in charge of police stations.
“Officers attached to the police special branch had communicated intelligence information directly to their director at the police headquarters,” the witness said.
Accordingly, he said that he had instructed the appointment of dedicated intelligence units at police stations following the riots.
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