Sri Lanka’s Police Media Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara said 85 suspects have been arrested in connection to the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and hotels.
The suspects include 10 women, Gunasekara said at a media briefing.
Out of the 85 suspects, 64 are detained in the custody of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and investigations are being carried out.
The Police Media Spokesperson said 20 suspects are being held under detention by the Terrorists Investigation Division and investigated.
He said 17 safe houses used by the terrorists for lodging and 7 training camps were also discovered by the police.
A Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) will be appointed to probe the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks and incidents in its aftermath and its members will be named soon, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. Jayasuriya said during party leaders’ meetings that he had always stressed the need for the President, Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to work together at this crucial moment in the country’s history and he hoped they would heed his call.
Relatedly, the government reiterated it has not censored the media, but requests it to act responsibly to prevent racial disharmony, Acting Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said. Wijewardene said that the recent false rumors circulated in social media had created a fear psychosis among people.
According to Wijewardene, 97 percent of the suspects linked to Zahran’s terrorist group had been arrested by the security forces. He said security forces were on the lookout for the remaining cadres of the terrorist groups, adding that persons who aided them — even in minor ways — were being arrested.
Wijewardene said Dan Priyasad, Amith Weerasinghe, and Namal Kumara were arrested to investigate their connections to the recent violent incidents in the country. He said the IGP would make a statement in that regard, shortly. The acting minister, condemning the violent incidents in Kuliyapitiya, Nattandiya, and Minuwangoda, said that those incidents obstructed the security forces’ operations to arrest the terrorists.
“Investigations on terrorists are delayed when security forces have to control these kinds of acts,” he said. “The security forces have acted on tip-offs received from the Muslim community to arrest extremists; there are a large number of Muslims who reject extremism. When such innocents are harassed, even moderate Muslims may be pushed to extremism,” the acting minister said.