Sri Lanka seeks UK help to investigate 2019 Easter attacks
Colombo, Jul 18 (EFE).- Sri Lanka’s acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced Monday he is seeking the assistance of the British government and its intelligence services to investigate the 2019 Easter attacks that left 269 dead and hundreds injured.
“I would like to get the help of the United Kingdom and their police authorities. They are the best that we can find in addition to the people from Sri Lanka who will be working on this issue because it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that this matter is finalized without any further delay,” Wickremesinghe said in a statement.
The attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in 2019 were claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State and perpetrated by the local extremist group National Thowheed Jamaat.
These extremist attacks became a central element of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s electoral victory, with his campaign focusing on reinforcing the country’s security.
Wickremesinghe, acting president since Rajapaksa’s resignation on Friday last week, announced Monday he will be running for the country’s top job when when the parliament votes to decide on a new head of state on Jul.20.
Wickremesinghe has stressed he will do his utmost to help the most vulnerable people to fight the economic crisis that the country has been suffering for several months.
The island nation suffers from a shortage of medicines, food and fuel, caused in part by heavy sovereign debt, misguided government policies, and the impact of the Easter attacks and the pandemic on tourism.
In an attempt to address the severe economic crisis, a team from the the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Sri Lanka in May to negotiate a possible financial bailout.
Wickremesinghe said in the statement that negotiations with the IMF are about to be concluded, while discussions for assistance from other foreign countries are also underway.
However, on Friday last week, the said it would resume negotiations for an urgent bailout program once the country resolves its institutional in the wake of Rajapaksa’s resignation.
The new president elected by the parliament on Wednesday is expected to be in charge of the crisis-torn nation until the next elections in 2024. EFE