Sri Lanka on Saturday banned local Islamist extremist outfit National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) and a splinter group, which are linked to the ISIS that has claimed the responsibility for the Easter bombings that left 253 people dead and several hundred injured.
National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, the mastermind behind the attacks, was killed inside the Shangri La hotel was he detonated himself.
President Maithripala Sirisena used emergency powers to ban the NTJ and a splinter group identified as Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI), a statement said.
“All movable and immovable property of these two organisations will be confiscated,” the statement said.
The move to ban the outfits came after the Lankan Parliament adopted a newly-enforced emergency regulation on Wednesday following a series of eight coordinated blasts, which ripped through three churches and three high-end hotels frequented by tourists on April 19 in the country’s deadliest violence since the devastating civil war ended in 2009.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said the country needs new laws to deal with threats posed by local terror outfits linked to ISIS.
“The definition on aiding terrorism is very narrow. Therefore, the laws are not strong to deal with a situation like this. We have to widen the scope of these laws to counter global terrorism. Not only they (the terrorists) should be arrested, their assets also need to be confiscated,” he said in a televised address.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Easter terror attacks on three Catholic churches and three luxury hotels but the government has blamed a local Islamist extremist group, National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ), for the bombings.
Earlier on Friday, three explosions rocked Kalmunai city in east Sri Lanka on Friday, as per sources. The explosion took place when the security forces were carrying out searches as a part of an investigation of Easter Sunday attacks. However, no casualties have been reported till Saturday morning. Sri Lankan police informed that during the raids they recovered Islamic state uniforms, ISIS flags, 150 gelignite sticks, 100,000 ball bearings and a drone camera in Sammanthurai, reported the international media.
The bomb blasts on Easter Sunday hit three churches- St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa, three hotels - the Shangri La, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury and two other places - Dematagoda and Dehiwala on Sunday killing over 200 people and injuring several hundred more.