Sri Lanka: Spice Mogul Arrested, Attackers Educated, Wealthy
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, disclosed that most of the bombers were educated individuals from affluent middle-class or upper-class families.
Sri Lankan spice mogul Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim is reportedly in police custody and being questioned following the devastating Easter Sunday suicide attacks that killed hundreds of people, according to the New York Times citing officials.
Two of the suicide bombers, who detonated explosives at hotels and churches, have been identified as sons of Ibrahim. However, authorities have yet to formally announce charges against Colombo-based Ishana Exports entrepreneur.
Brothers Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim were among the group of extremists who blew themselves up, CNN reported, quoting sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, in a news conference Wednesday, disclosed that most of the bombers were educated individuals from affluent middle-class or upper-class families.
“Financially they are quite independent and their families are stable financially. So that is a worrying fact,” he said. “Some of them have studied in various other countries. They hold degrees, LLMs. They are quite well-educated people.”
A third suicide bomber, Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied in the South East of England in 2006-2007, British security sources told CNN.
Some of the suspected attackers were being monitored by the country’s intelligence services prior to Sunday’s attack, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesingh told the news agency, explaining that there was not «sufficient» evidence to detain the suspected attackers.
Sri Lankan investigators are being assisted by agents from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations.
United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz, said there were “ongoing terrorist plots” while Minister Wijewardene added that “there could be still a few people out there.”
National police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, announced that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has, so far, raided five safe houses – in Negombo; Dehiwala; Sharikamulla, Panadura; Colpetty, Colombo 3; and Wattala – in connection with the terrorists.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.