Sack Sri Lankan officials for failing to forward terrorist tips – cardinal

Sack Sri Lankan officials for failing to forward terrorist tips – cardinal Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka, looks at the explosion site inside a church in Negombo following a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island. Photo: CNS

The Archbishop of Colombo says that government officials in Sri Lanka should be fired for failing to act on tips that terrorist attacks were imminent in the hours preceding Easter Sunday bombings in the country.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable behaviour on the part of these high officials of the government, including some of the ministry officials,” Cardinal Malcom Ranjith said in response to reports that Sri Lankan officials did not pass on credible warnings in the hours before the April 21 attacks, including some that specified that Catholic Church would be targeted.

Warnings reportedly came from the Indian government and from other intelligence sources, and said directly that churches could be targeted by Islamist terrorist attacks. Government officials have promised an inquiry into those reports. “These kinds of officials should be immediately sacked, removed from these positions. And human beings who have a feeling for the needs of others and for the people must be inserted into these positions,” Cardinal Ranjith said.

The cardinal added that if he had been warned that Catholic churches could be bombed on Easter Sunday, he would have cancelled Sunday Masses, “because, for me, the most important thing is human life. Human beings, they are our treasure”.

“I would have cancelled even the holy week itself,” Cardinal Ranjith told Radio Canada.

Thousands of Catholics attended Easter Sunday Masses at St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and St Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Negombo, both of which were bombed at 8.45am on Easter morning, as was the evangelical Zion Church in Batticaolo, on Sri Lanka’s east coast.