Naufer Mawlawi, who is currently in remand custody, has been identified as the ringleader of Easter Sunday terror attacks, says Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara.
The minister’s remarks came during a special media briefing held this evening (April 06). The press conference was also attended by Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella and State Minister of National Security Chamal Rajapaksa.
Naufer Mawlawi is allegedly the theoretician of the now-banned organization National Thowheed Jamaath.
According to Minister Weerasekara, Naufer Mawlawi was involved in bringing down the ideology of the Islamic State (IS) to Sri Lanka in 2014.
Naufer Mawlawi is also the person who brainwashed Zahran Hashim into following the IS ideology, the Public Security Minister said further.
In addition, Hajjul Akbar, who was taken into custody by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) on March 12, has also been identified as a ringleader of the coordinated bomb attack. He was arrested in the area of Dematagoda for promoting Wahhabism and Jihadist ideology in the country.
It was revealed that Hajjul Akbar had served as the chairman of Jamaat-e-Islami Organization for many years. The 60-year-old is also a close relative of one of the suspects who was taken into custody over the Buddhist statue vandalism incident in Mawanella.
Speaking further, the minister said a total of 32 suspects who are directly linked to the carnage have been identified and relevant evidence has already been submitted in order to file cases against them. However, investigations into the matter are moving forward, he added.
In the meantime, 75 suspects are currently held under detention orders while 211 are under remand custody in connection with the Easter Sunday terror attacks, Minister Weerasekara continued.