Wimal: What did those mystery boxes contain? Dispute over US refusal to allow scanning of ‘cargo’ at the Hilton Colombo
Posted on September 5th, 2019

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island


Lawmaker Weerawansa holding a picture of US personnel at the Hilton Colombo

Alleging that the US was stepping up clandestine operations in Colombo, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, on Wednesday (4) warned of dire consequences unless remedial measures were taken.

Weerawansa alleged that the US had exploited the Easter Sunday attacks to enhance its presence in Colombo.

The Colombo District MP, at a media briefing at the National Freedom Front office at Pitakotte, demanded an explanation from the government as regards US operations here. He urged the government to take up this matter with the US without further delay.

The former JVPer alleged that operations undertaken by external powers posed a grave threat to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

Weerawansa said that security staff at the Hilton Colombo had thwarted an attempt by five US government officials to check in along with six boxes on the night of July 30, 2019. The American delegation had declined to allow the security staff to scan the boxes, the former Housing and Construction Minister said. Subsequently, the US delegation had handed over one of the six boxes for scanning and loaded the rest to a US embassy vehicle bearing the No KL-6586 and moved them somewhere else, lawmaker Weerawansa said.

Following Easter Sunday attacks, in accordance with overall security plan, luxury hotels introduced security checks.

Weerawansa released visa photographs of the entire US team to the media, alleging the group had arrived in a private aircraft.

The NFF leader said that it was the second such detection. Soon after the April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, two US government employees were detected at the Hilton Colombo Residencies with explosives detectors, Weerawansa said. The MP recalled how sniffer dogs had traced the equipment in an apartment.

The National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) carried out four suicide blasts in three Colombo hotels. The NTJ also attacked three churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.

MP Weerawansa urged the government to find out how the US team had brought in cargo to Colombo which couldn’t be subjected to scrutiny at Hilton Colombo.

The NFF leader said that both Defence and Foreign Ministries should be concerned about clandestine US visits to Colombo. Alleging that the five-member team had left two days later sans the controversial cargo, lawmaker Weerawansa said the Sri Lanka should be wary of foreign powers using Colombo as a base for their clandestine operations.

The MP said that Sri Lanka couldn’t ignore the fact that Taleban and the Islamic State had been created by the US.

The NFF leader is the second lawmaker to have warned the government recently of US operations here. One-time Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, alleged Western powers would destabilise Sri Lanka over the current dispensation handing over strategic Hambantota port on a 99-year-lease to China. Addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Foundation, Rajapakse said that the country was rapidly heading for unprecedented security-political crisis over the Chinese presence at the Hambantota port.

Weerawansa alleged that the government seemed to be blind to what was taking place. Having secured agreement on ACSA (Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement) in early August 2017, the US was now pushing Sri Lanka to accept SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) as well as finalization of MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) pact, he added.

Commenting on the third Convention of the NFF scheduled to take place at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, on Sunday (Sept.08), MP Weerawansa underscored the importance of ensuring SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s victory at the 2019 presidential election to save the country from those pursuing agendas inimical to it.

The MP said that the party would hand over a set of proposals to be implemented following Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s victory at the Dec 2019 poll.

Weerawansa said that a decade after the conclusion of the conflict, the country was in crisis due to massive security lapses that led to the Easter Sunday carnage.

Weerawansa urged security services to initiate a probe into recent happenings involving US personnel.

Responding to a query, MP Weerawansa said SOFA would transform Sri Lanka into a US base overnight. He also referred to a recent statement issued by former PA National List MP and one-time Sri Lankan Ambassador to Teheran, M.M. Zuhair, PC, regarding the US project here.

Weerawansa asked whether the boxes that were sent away in a US embassy vehicle by those who stayed at the Hilton Colombo were still in the country or spirited out when the team left for the Maldives. What those boxes contained remained a mystery, the MP said.

One Response to “Wimal: What did those mystery boxes contain? Dispute over US refusal to allow scanning of ‘cargo’ at the Hilton Colombo”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    See what is happening in Syria.


    Can not the same thing happen in Sri Lanka? With no provision to inspect what is coming into the country and a big aircraft carrier stationed off the Trincomalee Harbour anything is possible.

    These are very frightening times for Sri Lanka under Ranil WIckramasinghe rule. While the Nation’s eye is diverted towards the immediate petit politics many things seem to be happening behind unnoticed and unreported.

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