The Police have arrested 78 individuals in connection with the violence in the Northwestern Province especially in the Kurunegala, Kuliyapitiya, Nikaweratiya and Chilaw Police Divisions during the last two days. These suspects have been produced at the Magistrates Courts and thereafter remanded. Investigations are underway to arrest other suspects connected with the violence and authorities are in the process of identifying them with video recordings in their possession, revealed the Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara at the media briefing.
There are state and private sector employees among the arrested group of suspects. Police will take action to inform their places of employment of the involvement of these individuals in the violence and acts of social unrest and also of other suspects who will be taken into custody in the future in connection with violence, further said the Police Spokesman. We would also inform those establishments to take necessary disciplinary action as appropriate, he added.
The Police had deployed over 5500 of its personnel to control the violence in the Northwestern Province alone. These are personnel who would otherwise be involved in routine police duties including receiving and acting on public complaints, take part in court proceedings, involve in crime investigations, traffic duties, operations against illegal drugs and illicit liquor and also national security matters and the Police had to deploy them to maintain peace, law and order in the violence hit areas. The Tri Forces and the Civil Defence Department had immensely contributed to this effort, he said.
Investigations into the April 21st bombings are progressing successfully and 65 suspects including 8 females are held by the CID for investigations. Another 20 suspects including 2 females are under TID custody. A wanted suspect having links to the suicide bomber at the Kochchikade church, who had assisted in the purchase and rearranging the seats of the van which the suicide bomber had arrived has been arrested by the CID. The suspect, a resident of new Kattankudy named, Mohamed Adam Lebbe is being held by the CID for investigations.
Investigations have revealed the details of 17 safe houses used by the terror group. These safe houses are located at Katuwapitiya in Negombo, Sarikkamulla in Panadura, St. Anthony’s Road in Colombo 3, Templers Road in Mount Lavinia, Wanathawilluwa, Enderamulla in Wattala, Mayura Place in Colombo 6, Sainthamaruthu 9, Malwana, Kalagedihena in Thihariya, Daluwakotuwa in Kochchikade, Ridiyatenna in Valachchenai, Subarathipura in Kuliyapitiya, Hettipola, Katupotha, Ninthaoor and Samanthure. In addition, seven places in Wanathvilluwa, Hambantota, Nuwara Eliya, Aruppola in Kandy, Malwana, Kattankudy and Valachchenai have been used by them to conduct training sessions, revealed the Police Spokesman.
The deadline imposed to handover illegally held explosive materials have been extended up to 06.00 am on 20th May. Those who have explosive materials with them without a valid permit or had illegally obtained in any other means can inform the Officer in Charge of the nearest Police Station or through the Public Police Committees officers of his possession. The Police will then take action to visit the location and seize the explosive materials, the Police Spokesman further said. The Police will commence island-wide operations against such explosive materials once the deadline is over.