A Sri Lankan parliamentary committee has concluded that the State Intelligence Service chief was responsible for intelligence failures in the weeks before the terrorist attacks that killed 269 people, mostly Christians, on Easter Sunday. He had received information on possible attacks 17 days earlier but had delayed sharing the intelligence.
Why was it under-reported?
The media very quickly forget terrorist atrocities, even ones this big; it’s an old story, and half way around the world. Also, the Western press have little understanding of Sri Lanka’s political complexities and infighting, which the report concluded contributed to the security failure.
Last October President Maithripala Sirisena appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister, dismissing Ranil Wickremesinghe; when the latter was reinstated by the courts, Sirisena excluded him from National Security Council meetings.
What will happen next?
A presidential election is taking place this month, and the favourite is former defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who served in his brother’s government. If elected he has promised to set up a commission to investigate the attacks on churches and hotels in Colombo, and to work on the restoration of security in the country.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, has called for a “transparent and independent” investigation. “We must protect the country from these forces that attempt to divide us,” he said in June.
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