Sri Lankan authorities direct public to deposit illegal explosives to police by Tuesday

PTI Colombo, Sri Lanka May 11, 2019, 08.41 PM(IST)

File photo of Sri Lankan military officials. Photograph:( Reuters )

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On Saturday last, the Sri Lankan police asked the public to hand over swords and large knives to the nearest police station after a large haul of weapons, including swords, and camouflaged materials were recovered during searches of mosques and houses.

Sri Lankan authorities on Saturday announced a three-day deadline for the public to inform and handover all illegal explosives to the nearest police station as part of a crackdown on suspects following the Easter Sunday bombings in which over 250 people were killed.

The move came a week after authorities directed people to deposit swords and other sharp-edged weapons to the nearest police station, after police recovered sword s and other weapons from mosques during search operations following the April 21 blasts in which over 250 people, including 44 foreigners 10 of whom were Indians, were killed and 500 others injured.

"A three-day period has been announced from 6.00 am today to inform and handover all illegal explosives material to the nearest police," Police spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara said. 

"Individuals in possession of such explosives should inform the nearest police station before 6.00 am on Tuesday," he added.

On Saturday last, the Sri Lankan police asked the public to hand over swords and large knives to the nearest police station after a large haul of weapons, including swords, and camouflaged materials were recovered during searches of mosques and houses.

On Monday, authorities extended by 48 hours the deadline for the public to surrender swords, daggers, sharp weapons and clothing similar to that of military uniforms.

The move came after several people including politicians were arrested for possessing sharp-edged weapons like swords since the crackdown began to arrest the suspects and their network, following the Easter Sunday blasts.

The Islamic State terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ).

Sri Lanka banned the NTJ and arrested over 100 people in connection with the blasts.

Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency since the attacks and given sweeping powers to soldiers and police to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.

House-to-house searches are being carried out across the country looking for explosives and propaganda material of Islamic extremists.