Easter Sunday Attack inquiry update – Zion church attacker had taken the bomb from Colombo in a bus, photos released by the commission, today
Posted on June 4th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

Mohammed Azad – Zion church bomber travlled by bus with the bomb<br /></strong>It has been revealed that Mohammed Azad, who had bombed the Zion Church in Batticaloa, had travelled from Colombo to Batticaloa carrying the bomb in a public passenger transport bus.

This was revealed when an official of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) investigating the Easter attack gave evidence before the Presidential Commission appointed to probe in to the Easter Sunday attack.<br /><br /><strong>Series of photographs that have not yet been released to the media regarding the explosions released today<br /></strong>Meanwhile, a series of photographs that have not yet been released to the media regarding the explosions at the Mahawila Park in Dematagoda on Easter Sunday were released to the media today.

More than a year has passed since the bombing of three leading hotels in the country and three Christian churches on Easter Sunday, as well as the two blasts at a house in Dematagoda.

But still there are various information that have not been revealed to society.

These facts that have not been revealed are being exposed with various investigating officers giving evidence before the Presidential Commission probing into the Easter attack.

That is how these previously  unknown facts about the Easter attack were revealed to the Commission yesterday and today.

On Easter Sunday, the Shangri-La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel and Kingsbury Hotel, St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya and the Batticaloa Zion Church became the target of bombers.

In the meantime, another explosion occurred at the residence of the Mahawila Park in Dematagoda at 2.36 pm.

At this time, the police, STF and intelligence units, including the police, had come to the house.

A second explosion occurred in the house at 2.53 pm, just minutes after the first explosion.

Two police officers including a sub inspector were killed in the blast.

Chief Inspector Ajith Priyantha presents a series of photographs taken during his investigation

Former Chief Inspector of the Criminal Investigations Department Ajith Priyantha Peduruarachchi, who conducted the Criminal Investigation into the Dematagoda attack, presented a series of photographs taken during his investigation before the Presidential Commission.

The Presidential Commission released the photographs to the media.

These photos show the impact and the  force of the two explosions in the Mahawila Gardens house

Testifying before the Presidential Commission, Ajith Priyantha Peduruarachchi said that the first explosion had occurred in an upstairs room of the two-storeyed house.

He further explained to the commission that the explosion had created a hole in the upstairs floor and therefore the floor was in danger of collapsing.

Female suicide bomber had placed the bomb on the tile floor and had sat there with the children and exploded

Investigations revealed that the female suicide bomber had placed the bomb on the tile floor and had sat there with the children before blasting off.

He further stated that the bodies of the bomber and the children had been blasted into pieces so much that they could not be identified.

The Chief Inspector of Police said that the second explosion had taken place elsewhere and it was a small place where only one person could stay. The witness also stated that the bodies of SI Rohana Bandarage and two other police officers were found at the scene of the explosion.

Attorney-at-Law Saman Weerasinghe, OIC of the Corporate Crimes Investigations Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, testified before the Presidential Commission.

He was the OIC of the Special Investigations Division of the CID at the time of the attack. He has been in charge of investigations into the Zion Church explosion in Batticaloa from 23-04-2019.

The witness told the commission that he had reviewed all CCTV footage near the Zion church after taking over the investigations into the attack.

Investigators were able to uncover many important facts about the attack through these footages.

The main information that has been uncovered is that the attacker of the Zion Church, Mohammed Azad, had brought the bombs from Colombo in a bus.

A photograph showing the bomber of the Zion Church aboard a bus to Kalmunai from Colombo

The witness presented to the Commission a photograph showing the bomber of the Zion Church aboard a bus to Kalmunai from Colombo near the Zahira College in Maradana, Colombo at 08.51 pm on 20th April 2019.

It has also been revealed that the bus had been booked by the suicide bomber of the Kochchikade Church. The bomber who got off the bus in Batticaloa town at around 2.16 am on the morning of 21.04.2019 first comes to the Jumma Masjid Mosque in a three-wheeler.

The bomber who stays in the Mosque for almost two hours participates in the service and his movements shows a great deal of unrest.

The bomber then walks into the rest room of the mosque and changes his clothes and leaves the mosque. A CCTV camera also showed the bomber coming to the Zion church. Subsequently, the bomb is then exploded inside Zion Church at 09.03 am.

Investigations following the incident have revealed that Mohammed Azad, who attacked the Zion Church, returned from visiting Qatar and Abu Dhabi in 2005 and 2012.

On the day of the attack, Mohammad Azad’s mother burned all her son’s photos

Also, on the day of the attack, Mohammad Azad’s mother, Aaliya Latifah Bibi, burned all her son’s photos.

The witness said she is currently in custody of the CID on charges of concealing evidence.

The witness also revealed that the bomber’s wife, Abdul Raheem Feroza, had died in the explosion at the Kathankudy, Saindamardu home after the Easter attack. He further stated that on the night of April 18, 2019, Assad and Feroza had arrived to Colombo from Kalmunai in a van and had arrived to an apartment at the apartment complex in Colpetty.

The Commission inquired as to who was staying at the residence. The witness stated that Saharan, his wife, his two children, and Hasthun, the attacker of the Katuwapitiya church, and his wife Sarah Jasmine alias Pulasthini were present there.

They had arrived at the Panadura house at about 1.00 pm on the 20th while the Saharan, Asad and Hastun had been staying there.

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