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Attacks in Sri Lanka: Government blames local Islamist movement

2019-04-22T10:27:36.525Z

In Sri Lanka, the government declared emergency status from midnight on Monday and blamed a local Islamist movement, the National Thowheeth Jama & Ath (NTJ), as being in danger. Origin of the suicide attacks that killed 290 people - a ...



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Security personnel stand guard in front of a church after a bomb blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on April 21, 2019. REUTERS / Stringer

In Sri Lanka, the authorities declared a state of emergency from midnight on Monday and blamed a local Islamist movement, the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), as the cause of the suicide bombings. have made 290 dead - a balance sheet still provisional - this Sunday. announcements made by government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.

The National Thowheeth Jama'ath is a Muslim group, known until now for facts that are not commensurate with the attacks of yesterday. The name of this small group circulated for the first time last year, when some of its members vandalized Buddha statues. His secretary general was arrested in 2016 for inciting racial hatred. In other words, to this day, acts of symbolic violence. An uncompromising defense of Islam, but no tangible link with terrorism: it is therefore advisable to remain cautious.

An alert sent 10 days ago by foreign intelligence services

For the moment, the Sri Lankan government has not provided any material evidence of these allegations. We do not know the profile of the twenty or so suspects arrested since yesterday, and there has not yet been a claim. Why, under these conditions, evoke the responsibility of the National Thowheeth Jama'ath?

It appears that the authorities are relying on the alerts issued 10 days ago by foreign intelligence agencies, who warned Sri Lanka against possible attacks by this group during the Easter period. Concrete evidence is now expected from the investigators, because it will take more than confidential notes written before the attacks to establish their responsibility.

Intelligence notes explicitly mentioned the Easter period and warned that attacks were likely to take place at that time. They also identified as potential targets Christian places of worship and tourist sites ... We will have to establish why no preventive measures were taken on the basis of this information despite the accuracy of the information provided by the intelligence services

Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne challenges intelligence services 22/04/2019 - by RFI

►Also read: Deadly Easter in Sri Lanka

Source: rfi

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