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Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Church insists Easter attack inquiry far from over

Officials say many questions remain to be answered despite police claiming the probe has been completed

UCA News reporter, Colombo

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Published: June 23, 2021 09:47 AM GMT

Updated: June 23, 2021 06:21 PM GMT

Sri Lankan Church insists Easter attack inquiry far from over

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith blesses a survivor of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks at midnight Mass at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo on Dec. 25, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

The Sri Lankan Church has denied a police statement that investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks are over.

The Church has strongly denied the statement made by senior deputy inspector general Ajith Rohana that the probe into the 2019 suicide bombings has been completed.

Church officials said the inquiry has not been completed and there are so many unanswered questions left.

Rohana said the investigations had been concluded and the results submitted to the attorney general for action.

Father Camillus Fernando, spokesman for Colombo Archdiocese, denied the statement and said the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry had stated that further investigations should be carried out.

"Prior to the attacks, a large number of swords had been imported into Sri Lanka. Everyone is looking at what happened to those swords. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has filed a case in this regard," said Father Fernando.

We believe that a thorough investigation should be carried out into all individuals regardless of their positions

Cardinal Ranjith went to court asking for an investigation into the import of about 6,000 swords. The court issued notices for high-ranking government officials in the writ petition regarding the failure to investigate the case.

A group of suicide bombers affiliated to local Islamist extremist group National Thowheed Jamath targeted three churches and three luxury hotels in 2019, killing at least 279 people including 37 foreign nationals.

"According to the report of the Presidential Commission, we believe that a thorough investigation should be carried out into all individuals regardless of their positions," said Father Fernando.

"The Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops' Conference including Cardinal Ranjith hopes that the full picture of the attack will be revealed to the public."

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However, the police media division issued a statement that the CID and the Terrorism Investigation Division are conducting investigations into 17 incidents related to the attacks. Some 32 suspects have already been charged in nine cases in nine high courts.

Father Julian Patrick Perera, former director of the family apostolate in the Archdiocese of Colombo, said there will come a time when future generations will stone the statues of corrupt politicians.

"Your pictures will be destroyed by future generations because of the destruction done to the country," said Father Perera in a press conference in Colombo on June 22.

"All politicians must stand for justice, otherwise the public will reject you in the future. There is a saying: You can cheat all the people sometimes, you can cheat some people sometimes, but not all the people all the time," he added.

Ruwini de Alvis, a victim from Negombo, said they have no faith in any politician in the country. "Many did nothing but have turned the incident to their political advantage," she said.

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