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We are ashamed and outraged: Sri Lanka Muslim Minister

He also said that the Muslim community and its leaders should introspect

Monday April 22, 2019 6:45 PM, ummid.com & Agencies

Muslim Minister on Sri Lanka Blasts

Colombo: A leading Sri Lankan Muslim political leader on Monday called for introspection within the community after a local Muslim group was blamed for the suicide bombings that killed 290 people on Easter Sunday.

Rauff Hakeem, a Minister and a leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said that being a Muslim Minister in the Cabinet he believed that the Muslim community and its leaders should introspect.

"We are ashamed and outraged. We have tried to address issues within the community," media reports quoted him as saying.

On Sunday, Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, Muslim World League (MWL), Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations joined the world community to condemn the barbaric incident which took place on Easter Sunday.

Rauf Hakeem's statement came hours after the government blamed National Thowheed Jamath for the horrific Easter Sunday suicide bombings which killed 290 people, including eight Indians, and said the attacks were "a colossal intelligence failure".

While no group claimed responsibility for the bloodbath, the government said that the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), a Sri Lankan Muslim group, carried out the attacks, stunning the island nation that had not seen such gore since the end of the civil war a decade ago.

At the same time, President Maithripala Sirisena announced that he would seek the assistance of foreign countries as "intelligence reports (indicate) that foreign terrorist organisations are behind the local terrorists".

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the media: "NTJ was involved. It is a local organisation. We don't know whether they are linked to outsiders. All those arrested are locals."

But he too admitted that without an international network, "these attacks could not have succeeded".

Senaratne called the well-planned attacks a "colossal intelligence failure" and stated that despite receiving prior information, they could not be prevented. He demanded the resignation of the Inspector General of Police.

"As a government, we apologize to families and other institutions. The problem is that even when we met the Prime Minister at the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister was also in the dark," he said.

On Monday, 87 detonators were found from the main bus station at Pettah in Colombo while a bomb the security forces were trying to defuse exploded near the St Anthony Church in Colombo, triggering panic in the area.

More than 500 people were wounded, many seriously, in the Sunday horror and were warded in hospitals even as the government investigated the complex network that meticulously targeted three luxury hotels in Colombo and a church each in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa besides two other locations in the national capital.

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