Sirisena to make changes in top positions of defence forces within next 24 hours


Colombo, Apr 23: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday said that he will make changes in top positions of the country's defence forces within the next 24 hours after their failure to prevent the deadly suicide blasts despite having the prior intelligence inputs about the attacks.

Addressing the nation for the first time since the Easter Sunday blasts that killed 321 people and wounded more than 500 others, Sirisena expressed his deepest condolences to all those who had lost their lives during Easter Sunday's "unexpected" attacks.

"I am hoping to make changes in top positions in the security establishment within the next 24 hours," he said.

The measures would be taken to restructure the Police Department and the security forces in near future in order to prevent such acts of terrorism, he added. His comments came amid mounting pressure on Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara to resign following his failure to prevent the worst terror attack in the country's history despite having prior intelligence about it.

[Islamic State claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings]

"People question why action had not been taken despite the availability of intelligence support from a friendly neighbouring country," Sirisena said.

The President also called on the public to refrain from looking at the Muslim community with a suspicious eye following the attacks. It was only a small group which had engaged in such acts of terror, he added. President Sirisena said that the country is faced with a different type of terrorism unlike the LTTE which had engaged in war for nearly three decades.

He vowed "to eradicate the local radical group which has links to an international terrorist movement."

[How ISI radicalised Sri Lanka through the Pakistan High Commission]

Sirisena also said that the emergency was declared to strengthen and provide more powers to the police and the tri-forces in order to prevent acts of terrorism in the country. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the devastating Easter blasts in Sri Lanka and identified the seven suicide bombers who were involved in the attacks.

PTI

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