ECONOMYNEXT – Islamist suicide bombers who killed more than 300 people in co-ordinated attacks on churches and hotels were well-educated and well-off, State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said.
Authorities said there were nine bombers and eight of them had been identified. All were Sri Lankan.
“These people were financially well-off, well-educated people,” Minister Wijewardene said. “They have LLM etc.”
Two of the suicide bombers were sons of a well-known businessman who had political connections.
One of the bombers had a degree from the United Kingdom and post-graduate qualifications from Australia, Wijewardene said.
It was not clear whether they were radicalized here or abroad.
Political analysts have pointed out that nationalism is usually an ‘urban intellectual’ phenomenon in most parts of the world and rural people simply follow. Many urban nationalists glorify a rural lifestyle.
Police investigators believe there were nine suicide bombers related to the blasts, including the wife of a suicide bomber, who blew herself up with her two children when police entered the house.
Islamic State, a radical Islamist organization claimed responsibility, saying the bombers were their fighters.
Wijewardene said a splinter group of the National Thowheeth Jama’at, which was more radical that the original group, had led the attacks.
They believe that Islam should be the only religion in Sri Lanka, Wijewardene said.
The IS generally targets Westerners and the US in particular.
Links to the IS are being probed with international help, he said.
The Minister declined to reveal more information about JMI, an organization that had been mentioned before. He said all arrested so far were Sri Lankans.
About 40 people have been arrested in connection with the blasts. More arrests are due, he said. (Colombo/Apr24/2019-SB)