Cardinal: ‘Sri Lanka Coverup Easter Bombings’
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
COLOMBO (Worthy News) – The cardinal of Sri Lanka claims the government “covers up” investigations into the 2019 Easter bombings to protect the “real culprits” behind the attacks that killed hundreds of people.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith recalled the 3rd anniversary of the Easter Sunday attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels.
Some 270 people were killed, including at least 45 foreign nationals, and some 500 were injured in the series of coordinated Islamist terrorist suicide bomb attacks on April 21, 2019.
However, recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the blasts “were not being implemented to protect the real culprits,” Ranjith said in remarks carried by Vatican News.
Most of the casualties were recorded in St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in the suburb of Negombo, belonging to Cardinal Ranjit’s Archdiocese of Colombo, where 113 died.
The other churches hit were St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, also of Colombo Archdiocese, and the Evangelical Zion Church of Batticaloa on the eastern coast.
A trial of 25 men accused of plotting the bombings began in November last year. But it was adjourned in January to allow time for the indictments to be translated into the Tamil language, which most of the suspects speak.
Ranjith said the people of Sri Lanka suspect that “the current government protects the ex-president out of fear that their involvement in the Easter attack may be revealed.”
Cardinal Ranjit added that Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government hadn’t kept their pledge to grant justice to the victims and cleanse “all elements of terror.” Instead, they “brushed commission findings under the rug, attempted to hide facts,” he stressed.
The cardinal accused the former president, intelligence units, and the police of concealing details of the impending attacks. “We are suspicious that the present regime continues to delay the implementation of the recommendations by the Presidential Commission probing the Easter Sunday attack. They delay taking action against former President Maithripala Sirisena because such action may result in more disclosures.”
Cardinal Ranjith said a police official and ex-defense secretary were released from prosecution, although they knew the bombings would occur while other officers were promoted.
Protestors shared the cardinal’s anger in recent days thousands, including priests and nuns dressed in black, mark the anniversary of the bombings. The attacks were blamed on militants affiliated with the Islamic State group as family members of the victims joined the clergy to demand justice in the mainly Buddhist nation.