Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attacker’s wife may have fled to India, says report

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Updated: Jul 22, 2020 2:28 PM

Chief Inspector Arjuna Maheenkanda told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that the person who assisted her to flee had been arrested, the report said.

Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attack, Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attacker wife,  Islamist extremist group, National Thawheed Jamaat, ISIS,Pulasthini Rajendran, latest news on sri lanka easter attack, world newsSri Lankan police have arrested over 200 suspects in connection with the bombings. (AP photo)

The wife of one of the suicide bombers belonging to a local extremist group that carried out the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka killing nearly 260 people may have fled to India to avoid arrest, according to a media report.

On April 21, 2019, nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing 258 people, including 11 Indians, and injuring over 500 on the Easter Sunday.

Sri Lankan police have arrested over 200 suspects in connection with the bombings. According to the English language daily ‘The Island’, a probe panel has been told that Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah, the wife of Achchi Mohammdu Mohammadu Hasthun, the suicide bomber who blew himself up at St. Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo, most likely had fled to India by the sea in September 2019.

Chief Inspector Arjuna Maheenkanda told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that the person who assisted her to flee had been arrested, the report said.

The police officer said that in October 2019, he was assigned to investigate the attacks carried out by the NTJ.
Maheenkanda told the PCoI that on July 6, 2020, he received a tip-off from an informant that Sarah, who was in the NTJ hideout in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, had escaped and was hiding in Mankadu in the eastern town of Batticaloa, the report said on Tuesday.

“When we were in Batticaloa, we met another person who had seen a woman, whom he believed was Sarah. This informant said he had seen a cab parked along Batticaloa-Kalmunai main road, near Beach Road, Mankadu area around 3 AM in September 2019. “He felt suspicious and slowed down. Then he saw Sarah and two other men walking towards the main road. There was a street light there and that’s how the informant saw them. This informant had lived near Sarah’s house for a long time. He also saw that she got into the back seat of the cab parked near the road,” the report quoted Maheenkenda as having told the PCoI.

The officer said that there was information that Sarah had fled to India by boat from the Mannar area. Two persons, Sarah’s brother and husband of her aunt, had helped her escape, the report said.

“One of the suspects is currently in custody. The other person has gone abroad. Investigations have also revealed that a person in the Mannar area helped her flee,” the officer said. The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo, and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass was in progress.

Three explosions were reported from three five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

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