The Sri Lankan government’s failure to act on intelligence it received about potential terrorist attacks ahead of the Easter Sunday bombings was “criminally negligent,” a former senior police official told CNN on Tuesday.
Asked about intelligence received from foreign security agencies in advance of Sunday’s attacks, the official said that such specific warnings are “very rare,” and to not act upon the warnings received was “criminally negligent.”
Some background: On Monday, Harsha de Silva, cabinet minister, told CNN that US and Indian intelligence warned Sri Lankan officials before the attacks. Speaking at a news conference in Colombo, a government spokesman apologized for the failure to act on that intelligence.
The former senior police official also said the security services had been aware of the group linked to the attacks, National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ), for at least two years.
He said the group emerged in the eastern province of Sri Lanka, and was linked to the vandalizing of Buddhist statues. He said there were indications that the group was growing in size and extremism, and estimated that there are about 100 to 150 members currently in the country.