Lanka Minister’s brother quizzed, let off

Lanka Minister’s brother quizzed, let off


A brother of Sri Lanka Minister for Trade Rishad Bathiudeen was detained at a checkpoint and questioned by the security forces. They, however, released him after getting a statement from him, the Sunday Times of Colombo reported. The incident happened at Vavunia checkpoint which divides the Tamil majority north and the Sinhala majority south.

The paper said the Minister’s brother was taken into custody for questioning by the intelligence unit of the army on suspicion of links with the April 21 serial bomb blasts in churches and hotels which left 253 dead and nearly 450 wounded. The Minister’s name came to be bandied about after the arrest of rich spice merchant Mohammed Yousuf Ibrahim, whose two sons led the suicide mission carried out at the behest of the IS. Interrogation of the father revealed that the Ibrahim brothers-- Ilham Ahmed who blew up the Cinnaman Grand Hotel and Ismath also a suicide bomber— had known Minister Bathiudeen who is leader of Ceylon Makkal Katchi.

Across Sri Lanka, a huge international criminal investigation was ramping up, with six foreign police agencies and Interpol assisting local police, including Scotland Yard from the UK and the FBI from the US.

Gunasekera, the police spokesman, said officers from Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) had raided five safe houses across the country in connection with Sunday's attacks. Those locations have since been sealed for forenhsic investigation. More than 70 suspects have been taken into custody on a range of charges, including suspicion of terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism, Gunasekera said. Four high-level suspects are being held by TID, and 33 are being held by CID, he added.

Of those arrested, four suspects are women, and all are Muslims. Gunasekera said most of them are family members and friends of the suspected suicide bombers.