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Middle class and foreign educated: Face of terror in Sri Lanka

Suicide bombers hit churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday Photograph:( WION Web Team )

WION Colombo, Sri Lanka Apr 24, 2019, 05.54 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

The Sri Lankan government for the first time given details of the terrorist involved in Sunday's carnage that killed more than 350 people. In all, there were nine suicide bombers, out of which eight died during the bombings while one, blew himself up when was about to be caught.

In all, out of the nine suicide bombers, one was a female, who blew herself before being caught in a hideout in Dematagoda, a suburb of Sri Lanka. The female was the wife of one of the suicide bomber.

The eight male bombers were from middle-class families and financially stable. Some of them had gone abroad for education, with one going to the UK to study law and later he went to Australia for a sports degree before returning back to Sri Lanka.

Right now many countries are helping the Sri Lankan government to probe the incident. These include US, UK, India, Australia with UAE ambassador to Sri Lanka calling Sri Lanka's Deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene and offering help.

While lauding India, in an exclusive interview to WION, minister Wijewardene had said, "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 us information. They have been very helpful. And as always we look to our neighbour when a crisis happens in our country."

But he accepted there were lapses and said, "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."

The President has announced a probe into why lapses happened on transfer of information.

Currently, investigations are on, with 60 people being detained, of which 30 are with CID. The government will make further arrests in the next few days. 

National Thowfeeth Jamath (NTJ), along with an unknown splinter group has been named responsible for the attack. However, the Islamic State terrorist organization(IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, with the Sri Lankan government looking into funding to NTJ. 

No foreigners have been arrested in connection with the terror attack and till now Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested. 

According to Sri Lankan intelligence, individuals seem to be motivated by the Christchurch incident in which mosques were attacked in New Zeland last month. But no direct link has been found between Sri Lanka and the New Zealand terror attack.

Meanwhile, the opposition is up in arms over government inaction. Keheliya Rambukwella, opposition leader and former Information minister in the previous government told WION, "this is a deformed government, I knew they will come to this".

He said, the issue of Jehadi terrorism was warned earlier.

Story highlights

Some of the suicide bombers had gone abroad for education, with one going to the UK to study LLM and later he went to Australia for a sports degree before returning back to Sri Lanka.