Police too late to inspect Zaharan’s N’Eliya training camp; witness tells PCoI

Police too late to inspect Zaharan’s N’Eliya training camp; witness tells PCoI

Police too late to inspect Zaharan’s N’Eliya training camp; witness tells PCoI

Written by Staff Writer

26 Aug, 2020 | 5:36 pm

Colombo (News 1st); The National Thowheeth Jama’ath leader Zaharan Hashim had conducted more than 10 training camps in Nurawa Eliya, Hambantota, and Mawanella in 2018 alone, it was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the 2019 April 21st Attacks.

Sub Inspector Srimal Sanjeewa Sampath of the Criminal Investigations Department in his testimony to the Presidential Commission said the failure of the Nuwara Eliya Police to find anything suspicious from a search operation conducted at a lodge where Zahran Hashim conducted a training camp on May 8, 2018, had allowed NTJ operatives to flee from the police net.

SI Srimal Sanjeewa Sampath said a resident who lived close to the lodge has given a tip to former IGP Pujith Jayasundara with regard to a suspected group staying at the premises.

The then IGP was informed as the attempts to inform the Nuwara Eliya Police had failed.

Counsel from the Attorney General’s Department questioned the witness on how the particular resident was in possession of the contact number for the Inspector General of Police.

The witness said when recording a statement from the resident who tipped the police, he said he noted down IGP’s contact number from a television program telecasted earlier.

According to the witness, the person who tipped the police in his statement said the group staying at the lodge did not step out to explore the surroundings like others who visit Nuwara Eliya.

The resident had also said the people staying at the lodge had discussed weapons and money which were to be transported to Kattankdy.

The witness said in the statement “Mr. Ilesinghe” also mentioned although he had informed about the NTJ to the Police in the morning, the police came at around 4 pm in the evening to search the lodge, but they were unable to find anything suspicious.

The witness also said during the inquiry police had observed Zaharan had conducted preachings related to extremism and his associates conducted lectures on making weapons and bombs.

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