Sri Lanka’s Catholic Leader Feels ‘Betrayed’ by Government’s Failure to Act on Intelligence Warnings

Sri Lanka’s Catholic leader said Friday he felt “betrayed” by the government’s failure to act on warnings that could have prevented the Easter bombings, adding that services would not resume until security could be guaranteed.

The government has admitted major lapses over the foreign intelligence warning that radical Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) was planning suicide bombings on churches.

On April 11, Sri Lanka’s police chief issued an alert based on the intelligence. Neither the prime minister nor other top ministers were among the recipients.

At least 253 people died when attackers blew themselves up at three churches, including two Catholic ones, and three hotels in coordinated blasts.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said the island’s Catholic church had also not been informed about a possible attack.

“I felt betrayed a little bit. I felt sad,” he told reporters, when asked about the warnings.

“It’s a very serious lapse on the part of the security agencies that they didn’t tell us about it,” the archbishop added.

He said he had sought an explanation from government officials but received nothing.

“They all say ‘I didn’t know about it. Everybody is passing the baby,” Ranjith added.

Late Friday Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe apologised for failing to prevent the bombings.

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SOURCE: AFP