Sri Lanka’s Top clergy warns of another attack

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena expressed fears of another attack on Catholic churches

Fears of another attack on Catholic churches between October 15 and 25 have prompted the Security Forces and the Police to take enhanced security measures countrywide. The first warning of such attacks came from Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena. He appealed that the Security Forces and Police review their security plans for the period in question.

The information, the Colombo based media learnt, has been verified by state intelligence services. Consequently, the Chief of National Intelligence, retired Major General J.R. Kulathunga, has brought this to the notice of Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

He has in turn alerted the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. A Defence official said yesterday that “precautions have already been taken.” He said that the armed forces would assist the Police through a variety of measures but declined to identify them. He said protection is also being provided to Catholic churches and “there is no cause for any unnecessary concern.”

A copy of the letter received by CDS 

Acting on the warning, officers in charge of Police Stations have already advised hotels to obtain daily, lists of guests checking into their premises and to inform them any suspicious activity. Police sources said they were aware of the identities of those attempting to cause violence and were closely monitoring the situation.

However, the Police Media Unit in a statement claimed that the observations made related to national security in the letter sent to hotels had not been verified by intelligence agencies. Accordingly, it stated that the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) at Police Headquarters had begun an investigation on the officers who had sent such a letter based on unverified information.

A Defence official said that advance precautions taken after the information was received ensured violence of a level that occurred on Easter Sunday, April 21, would not take place. “Even the public should co-operate by providing information on suspicious activity,” the official added.

In the wake of this development, Police found three bombs (two small and one big) near the St Mary’s Church in Rawatawatte, Moratuwa on Thursday. ( Sunday Times, Colombo)

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