Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Sri Lanka government faces no-confidence vote over attacks

Opposition Marxist People's Liberation Front submitted motion accusing ruling coalition of failing to prevent April 21 attacks

Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Wednesday began debating a no-confidence motion against the government for failing to prevent Easter suicide bombings that killed more than 250 people.

The opposition Marxist People's Liberation Front submitted a motion accusing the ruling coalition of failing to prevent the April 21 attacks despite the “fact that proper information had been made available regarding suicide terrorists”.

Voting on the motion is expected on Thursday.

Seven suicide bombers from a Sri Lankan militant group, National Tawheed Jamaat, attacked three churches and three luxury hotels in the worst violence by the ISIS-linked terrorists in South Asia.

After the attacks, national police chief Pujith Jayasundara was suspended and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned.

Both were arrested last week over criminal negligence allegations and later released on bail.

MP Anura Dissanayaka, the leader of the People’s Liberation Front, said the attacks occurred because the government failed to fulfil its responsibility.

“People have no confidence in this government and the public is fed up,” Mr Dissanayaka said.

The Minister of Economic Reforms, Harsha de Silva, rejected the accusation.

“If we knew about it, we would have taken preventive measures. We would not have allowed it to happen,” Mr de Silva said.

Sri Lankan leaders and the security establishment are under fire for not acting on near-specific intelligence information about possible attacks on churches.

Government leaders have acknowledged that some intelligence units were aware of possible attacks weeks before the bombings.

President Maithripala Sirisena has said he was kept in the dark on intelligence about the planned attacks and vowed to “take stern action” against officials who failed to share it.

A parliamentary committee is looking into intelligence failures despite objections by Mr Sirisena, who has been accused of shortcomings.

He is also the Defence Minister and Minister of Police.

Updated: July 11, 2019 01:56 AM

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