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Indian government has been very helpful: Sri Lanka's Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene to WION

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Colombo, Sri Lanka Apr 24, 2019, 01.17 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Deputy Defence Minister of Sri Lanka, Ruwan Wijewardene has said people in Sri Lanka need to be more vigilant in the aftermath of the terror attack that killed around 359 people. 

While speaking to WION, the minister appreciated India for its help.

WION: What is the current situation in your country?

Ruwan Wijewardene: All I can say is that citizen of this country has to stay alert, vigilant for the next few days. I believe we will have the situation under control in a couple of days until then our people have to be more vigilant.

WION: How India has helped you?

Ruwan Wijewardene: Indian government has been very helpful. From the beginning, they have given us the assistance we have been wanting to do the investigation we want. They are giving information. They have been very helpful. And as always we look to our neighbour when a crisis happens in our country.

WION: India had provided intelligence before the attack,  what will you say on that?

Ruwan Wijewardene: Our intelligence agencies have links with intelligence agencies of other countries. So, I think, there has been information coming from many sources. Our intelligence had been briefed. And certain officials were notified about a possible attack but due to some lapse of security arrangements, most of the officials were not notified about the threats, that is including me and the prime minister. So, there has been a lapse on that regard but the president has promised an enquiry as to why the lapse happened. 

WION: You said, there is a New Zealand link. Sri Lanka attacks was a retaliation to New Zealand attack?

Ruwan Wijewardene: From the assessment that is available by our intelligence services, they believe that it was definitely a motivational attack. A fact, for this group to conduct bombings on Easter Sunday. The group had started off by defacing Buddhist status but they never took up to this magnitude. So, to do on Easter Sunday, our intelligence services had input, it was definitely a motivational factor.

WION: How many countries have offered you help?

Ruwan Wijewardene: Right now we have assistance from the US, UK, India, Australia. UAE ambassador also called and offered us help.

WION: Number of people who died in the attack?

Ruwan Wijewardene: 359 people have died in the attack among which 39 were foreigners. 

Story highlights

I believe we will have the situation under control in a couple of days until then our people have to be more vigilant, said Deputy Defence Minister of Sri Lanka, Ruwan Wijewardene.