Gotabaya says he will run for president, tackle radical Islam
Posted on April 26th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said on Friday he would run for president in elections this year and would stop the spread of Islamist extremism by rebuilding the intelligence service and surveilling citizens.

More than 250 people were killed in bomb attacks on hotels and churches on Easter Sunday that the government has blamed on Islamist militants and that Islamic State has claimed responsibility for.

Gotabaya says he will run for president, tackle radical Islam

Gotabaya said the attacks could have been prevented if the island’s current government had not dismantled the intelligence network and extensive surveillance capabilities that he built up during the war and later on.

Because the government was not prepared, that’s why you see a panic situation,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

Gotabaya said he would be a candidate 100 percent”, firming up months of speculation that he plans to run in the elections, which are due by December.

He was critical of the government’s response to the bombings. Since the attacks, the government has struggled to provide clear information about how they were staged, who was behind them and how serious the threat is from Islamic State to the country.

Various people are blaming various people, not giving exactly the details as to what happened, even people expect the names, what organisation did this, and how they came up to this level, that explanation was not given,” he said.

On Friday, President Maithripala Sirisena said the government led by premier Ranil Wickremesinghe should take responsibility for the attacks and that prior information warning of attacks was not shared with him.

Wickremesinghe said earlier he was not advised about warnings that came from India’s spy service either, presenting a picture of a government still in disarray since the two leaders fell out last October.

Gotabaya is facing lawsuits in the United States, where he is a dual citizen, over his role in the war and afterwards.

The South Africa-based International Truth and Justice Project, in partnership with U.S. law firm Hausfeld, filed a civil case in California this month against Gotabaya on behalf of a Tamil torture survivor.

In a separate case, Ahimsa Wickrematunga, the daughter of murdered investigative editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, filed a complaint for damages in the same U.S. District Court in California for allegedly instigating and authorising the extrajudicial killing of her father.

Gotabaya said the cases were baseless and only a little distraction” as he prepared for the election campaign. He said he had asked U.S. authorities to renounce his citizenship and that process was nearly done, clearing the way for his candidature.

‘DISMANTLE THE NETWORKS’

He said that if he won, his immediate focus would to be tackle the threat from radical Islam and to rebuild the security set-up.

It’s a serious problem, you have to go deep into the groups, dismantle the networks,” he said, adding he would give the military a mandate to collect intelligence from the ground and to mount surveillance of groups turning to extremism.

Gotabaya said that a military intelligence cell he had set up in 2011 of 5,000 people, some of them with Arabic language skills and that was tracking the bent towards extremist ideology some of the Islamist groups were taking in eastern Sri Lanka was disbanded by the current government.

They did not give priority to national security, there was a mix-up. They were talking about ethnic reconciliation, then they were talking about human rights issues, they were talking about individual freedoms,” he said.

President Sirisena’s government sought to forge reconciliation with minority Tamils and close the wounds of the war and launched investigations into allegations of rights abuse and torture against military officers.

Officials said many of these secret intelligence cells were disbanded because they faced allegations of abuse, including torture and extra judicial killings.

Source: Reuters

-Agencies

3 Responses to “Gotabaya says he will run for president, tackle radical Islam”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka security forces raid suicide bombers’ base in the East, seize explosives, bomb making equipment

    Apr 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s security forces have during a raid today in Sammanthurai in the Eastern Province have discovered the location where the photos of National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) suicide bombers pledging their leader were taken.

    During the raid of a house in Sammanthurai on intelligence information, the security forces following a gun battle with an armed group seized a cache of explosives, the police said.

    Security forces were also able to seize ISIS uniforms, flags, 150 sticks of explosive Gelignite, about 200,000 ball bearings, batteries, wires, a drone camera and various items for manufacturing bombs, including urea and other chemicals.

    Information has been received that this was the place where the NJT leader, Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran had recorded the video footage of the suicide bombers pledging their leader, which had been sent to the media two days ago.

    The group’s black uniform, the shoes as well as the flag in the abckground of the video were among the items found in the raid today.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    How can Bangladeshis arriving on TOURIST VISAS work in Sri Lanka?

    Why were they RELEASED instead of being JAILED, PUNISHED and finally DEPORTED to Bangladesh?

    Is this RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE? Who allowed them to enter Sri Lanka? Where is the FOLLOW UP of tourists who enter Sri Lanka to ENSURE THEY LEAVE when their VISA EXPIRES?

    Not only do these MUSLIM TERRORISTS kill PEOPLE, but they ROUTINELY FLOUT the IMMIGRATION LAWS of Sri Lanka at them. This is NOT THE FIRST INSTANCE of their IMPORTING MORE MUSLIMS and SETTLING them in Sri Lanka ILLEGALLY. Rishard Bathiudeen no doubt would call them War Displaced Muslims and Settle them on WILPATTU forest reserve land as well! God Damn these TRAITORS in Government!

    WIPE THEM OUT without MERCY!

    …………………………….
    Police take 11 Bangladesh workers from Sri Lanka into custody

    Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com

    Published: 27 Apr 2019 09:33 PM BdST Updated: 27 Apr 2019 09:33 PM BdST

    Police have taken into custody 11 Bangladeshi workers of a Sri Lankan factory owned by a suicide bomber after Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels.

    Police were questioning them after they returned on Friday, police’s counterterrorism chief Monirul Islam said on Saturday.

    They will be released if nothing suspicious is found in initial investigation, he said.

    “They took job at a factory despite having tourist visa. They don’t have any criminal record.”

    They worked at the copper factory owned by Inshaf Ibrahim, a 33-year-old who detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel on Apr 21.

    Sri Lanka has shut down the factory and sent back its foreign workers to their countries.

    Islam had earlier said Bangladeshi militants might draw inspirations from the Sri Lanka attacks.

    On Saturday, he said there was no information about any security threat until now.

    A crackdown on militants following the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack broke the militants’ mental strength, he said.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    BANNING NTJ IS NOT ENOUGH!

    1. IDENTIFY and PROSECUTE all those who VIOLATED the laws of Sri Lanka over the last 20 years allowing these MUSLIM EXTREMISTS to TAKE ROOT in Sri Lanka. Many MUSLIM POLITICIANS in ALL LEVELS of Government contributed to their AGENDA.

    2. STOP the ILLEGAL INFLUX of FOREIGNERS into Sri Lanka and OVERSTAING of TOURIST Visas. STOP LEGAL ALL IMMIGRATION of Foreigners. Sri Lanka is ALREADY HEAVILY POPULATED; there is NO ROOM and NO RESOURCES for more.

    3. STOP allowing MADRASSAS and Sharia Universities in Sri Lanka. CLOSE them down as ALIEN to the MODERATE Sri Lankan Muslim society, and as POSING a MORTAL TREAT to Sri Lanka.

    4. Permanently BAN full-body BLACK ATTIRE worn by Muslims and their BURKA face coverings as ALIEN and TERRORISM PRONE and as engendering FEAR in the minds of other citizens. FRANCE, the land of Liberte’, Egalite’ and Fraternite’, among other European Nations has done this, WHY NOT Sri Lanka??

    5. BAN Muslim practice of having MULTIPLE wives! ENFORCE ONE MARRIAGE LAW for ALL CITIZENS! Stop the Muslim BABY-MAKING machine and ABUSE of Women! Liberate Muslim Women!

    6. BAN Sharia LAW completely! There should be ONLY ONE SYSTEM of LAW for ALL Sri Lankan citizens!

    7. STOP the building of Muslim Mosques at every STREET CORNER with overflowing influx of SAUDI WAHHABI MONEY!

    8. Force Financial Institutions to offer the SAME LOANS to All Citizens irrespective of RELIGION! BAN exclusive SHARIA LENDING!

    9. STOP the Muslims Practice of TAKING OVER Villages, Towns and Regions SOLELY for THEMSELVES preventing ALL OTHER CITIZENS from buying Lang, Settling and conducting BUSINESS in those areas! PRECLUDE the CREATION of Muslim Bantustans within Sri Lanka!

    10. BAN ALL schools from admitting only students of ONE RELIGION. REQUIRE the teaching of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam in ALL schools, PRIVATE or PUBLIC!

    Peace and Tranquility in a country does not happen by ACCIDENT; it is the RESULT of WISDOM, PRACTICALITY and ENFORCEMENT!

    ELECT Gothabhaya the next President to EFFICIENTLY USHER propel Sri Lanka in this direction! Kick out the this Un Patriotic Party from Government NOW!

    ……………………………….
    President bans National Thowheeth Jama’ath in Sri Lanka
    Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 08:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Apr 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has taken steps to ban two extremist Muslim organizations in the country in the wake of the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and hotels in the island.

    The President under the Emergency Regulations has banned the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), a jihadist group implicated in the April 21 bombings and the splinter group Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI) in Sri Lanka.

    “President Maithripala Sirisena, in terms of powers vested in him as the under Emergency Regulations No. 01 of 2019, has taken steps to ban the organizations National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI) in Sri Lanka,” President’s Media Division said.

    As such, all activities of those organizations as well as their property will be seized by the government.

    Steps are being taken to ban other extremist organizations operating in Sri Lanka, under Emergency Regulations, President’s Office said.

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