Link between spice traders and Easter terrorists being probed – Trade Minister
Posted on March 10th, 2021

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

Rs 3.72 billion worth of pepper imported between 2015 and 2019

Investigations were underway to ascertain information about a nexus between spice traders and the Easter Sunday terrorists, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday.

Minister Gunawardena said so in response to a question by SLPP MP Mohamed Muzammil, who said that one of the leading sponsors of the Zahran Hashim’s group that executed the Easter Sunday terror attacks was Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, who had been a JVP national list candidate for parliamentary elections. Ibrahim’s sons were involved in the attacks and there had been a nexus between spice traders and Muslim extremist groups. Ibrahim was one of the wealthiest pepper exporters. The funds earned through pepper exporting were channeled for the terrorist activities.”

 Minister Gunawardena said that investigations were underway to uncover more details about the nexus between pepper exporters and terrorists.

 Minister Gunawardena said that between the years 2015 and 2019 the highest amount of pepper had been imported to the country by various businessmen at the expense of the local pepper cultivators.  The total amount was five million kilos at a cost of Rs. 3.72 billion.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had stopped importing pepper. Today, the pepper farmers sell a kilo of pepper at Rs 600-800 a kilo,” the Minister said.

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