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Sri Lanka president vows security shake-up after attacks

Sri Lanka president vows security shake-up after attacks

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena. (AFP/LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI)

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's president on Tuesday (Apr 23) vowed a major shake-up of the military's top brass in the wake of the deadly Easter suicide bombings, after the government admitted warnings were ignored.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also defence and law and order minister, said he will carry out a complete reorganisation of the security forces and the police under his control.

READ: At least 45 children killed in Sri Lanka attacks: UN 

READ: Two brothers were Sri Lanka hotel suicide bombers

"I hope to make major changes in the leadership of the security forces in the next 24 hours," the president said in a nationwide address.

"The restructuring of the security forces and the police will be completed within a week."

A coffin of a victim is carried during a mass burial of victims of the Sri Lanka blasts on Easter at a cemetery near St Sebastian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka on Apr 23, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has acknowledged that police had intelligence about the suicide strikes against churches and luxury hotels before the bombings on Sunday, but failed to act on it.

More than 320 people were killed.

An investigation was underway to establish why police did not share intelligence with Wickremesinghe's office, he told reporters on Tuesday, shortly before the president's address.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the series of bombings at three Catholic churches and three high-end hotels, and released a photo of the men it said were responsible.

On Apr 25, the Sri Lankan government revised the death toll to 253.

Source: AFP/de


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