Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has blamed the government for failing to act on intelligence on National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a local Muslim group, weeks before the multiple blasts, which targeted churches and luxury hotels across the South Asian island nation.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Colombo, Senaratne said the failure to act against the hardline organisation in Sri Lanka, had devastated the entire country.
He said on April 4, a foreign intelligence agency passed on information that “such an incident will take place in this country” involving “suicide bombers”.
“In those detailed reports, they have said that the targets are the Christian and Catholic churches, and also the tourist destinations, hotels,” said Senaratne. He said the warnings were not passed on to the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, or his cabinet. Mr Wickremesinghe acknowledged that security services had been “aware of information” but had not acted on the information.
Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando told the BBC that the intelligence “never indicated it was going to be an attack of this magnitude”.
“They were talking about isolated, one or two incidents. Not like this,” he said.