Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, assuring the nation that he would take steps to curtail terrorism and bring back normalcy swiftly, said he will make immediate changes in the high security positions as there was negligence in carrying out responsibilities.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday, April 23, President Sirisena assured that he would take every required step to curb terrorism in Sri Lanka and restore normalcy swiftly.
He urged the people and all the political parties to extend fullest cooperation setting aside differences to these efforts for the sake of the future generation.
Expressing the grief, shock and deep dismay over the loss of lives in these ruthless acts of terrorism, the President stressed the imperative need for the support and unity of everybody in this national endeavor.
President Sirisena expressed confidence that the terrorism can be curbed very soon as the law enforcement agencies have taken swift measures to identify and arrest the criminals responsible for acts of terrorism and aiding and abetting such acts.
He thanked the law enforcements personnel for the effective steps taken to arrest the suspects and expressed condolences over the death of three police officers while carrying out investigations in the aftermath of the terror attacks.
The President disclosed that since 2017, there were intelligence information about emergence of terrorist groups and the fact that some of them receiving training in foreign countries. “Our security services kept a close vigilance on these groups,” he said.
He revealed that already seven or eight countries with experience, intelligence skills and high technology capabilities to fight terrorism have assured Sri Lanka that they would provide assistance.
President Sirisena said that he would be truthful and acknowledged that there were lapses on the part of defense authorities. He said, although there was an intelligence report about these attacks, he was not informed about it. The President said he would enact changes in the security services high posts very soon.
He said that although there were intelligence reports about possible terrorist cells, no legal action could be taken with normal laws without sufficient evidence. He pointed out Sri Lankan intelligence experiences would be useful to carry out anti-terrorism measures, now that the armed forces could use emergency powers enacted last night. “I am confident that with such reorganizations of security sector and with the assistance of foreign expertise, the threat of terrorism could be curbed soon”, he emphasized.
“We will not allow the limited emergency regulations gazette last night to be used against the ordinary people and they will be used only against terror suspects,” he said. The President assured that new laws would not be a hindrance to freedom of expression, lawful protests or demonstrations, democratic rights, individual freedom and media freedom. “I take that responsibility,” he said.
President Sirisena announced that he would hold an All Party Conference inviting the parties represented in Parliament and outside to discuss the proposals to ensure national reconciliation and communal harmony. He will also have round table discussions with religious leaders and intellectuals in this regard. “This is the time to stop pointing fingers at each other and to set aside political differences and to take steps to ensure that such barbaric terrorist acts would not recur,” he said.