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Lanka appoints new intelligence chief

Colombo: Major General Ruwan Kulatunga will be Sri Lanka’s new chief of National Intelligence after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked his predecessor for blaming him for failing to avert the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Kulatunga would replace Sisira Mendis, a retired senior police superintendent, who was sacked by Sirisena after he testified before a parliament select committee formed to probe the Easter bombings that targeted three Catholic churches and high-end hotels, killing 258 people.

During the inquiry last week, Mendis testified that the April 21 attacks could have been averted and also said that President Sirisena had failed to hold regular security meetings to assess the threat from Islamic radicals.

Mendis, in his testimony, mentioned about the prior intelligence of the attacks and the official negligence in averting the series of blasts.

 Sirisena, who is also the Minister of Defence, last week claimed that he had sacked Mendis before he appeared for the enquiry.

Earlier, Sirisena had suspended police chief Pujith Jayasundera and Sirisena’s top defense bureaucrat Hemasiri Fernando after the bombings carried out by the National Thowheed Jamaath. The failure to prevent the suicide bombings despite prior intelligence is also blamed on the political infighting between Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that emerged in October last year.

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