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Police chief suspended over Easter attacks – Sri Lanka.

president of sri lanka maithripala sirisena
President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena

On Monday  president Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka  suspended the chief of police and appointed a new defence secretary in a surprise victory of the shell-shocked country’s security services following the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Chief of police Pujith Jayasundara had refused to give up to clear the way for a unexpected result of the 85,000-strong force, prompting President Maithripala Sirisena to suspend him 

Intelligence warnings from abroad alerting to possible attacks by Islamist extremists were overlooked ahead of the multiple bombings of churches and expensive hotels on April 21 that killed 253 people and injured nearly 500.

Chandana Wickramaratne Senior Deputy Inspector-General was appointed acting police chief in his place, Sirisena’s office revealed in a statement.

independently the president  appointed on Monday a ex- head of the army, Shantha Kottegoda, as the country’s top defence official. Hemasiri Fernando, stepped down on Thursday in the wake of the attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State group. His predecessor at the ministry of defence and law and order,

General Kottegoda, 69, was compulsory to retire as head of the army in December 2005, by then-president Mahinda Rajapakse.

an intelligence agency from a neighbouring country had provided precise details of the impending hit 17 days in advance, but local authorities had failed to take countermeasures Sirisena said.

According to Official sources said the president was referring to information provided by India’s Research and Analysis Wing which apparently gleaned details of the Easter attacks from a jihadist suspect in Indian custody.

The government has since affirmed a state of emergency and deployed thousands of troops for search operations adjacent to Islamist extremists. On Monday Security forces searched a Muslim burial ground in Colombo following information that explosives had been hidden there, but the troops did not find any, officials said.

police said., cordon and search searches were carried out across the country and 13 foreign nationals overstaying their visas were arrested,

It was not clear if the foreigners including10 Nigerians and one each from India, Iran and Thailand were connected to religious extremists or the Easter attacks. Over 150 people have been arrested since April 21 and more than 15 people killed in raids.

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