Sri Lanka names Easter suicide bombers

Soldiers arrive for deployment outside St. Sebastian Church, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Negombo, Sri Lanka, May 1, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 May 2019
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Sri Lanka names Easter suicide bombers

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s police Wednesday named nine people who staged Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed 253 people, and said the attackers’ assets will be confiscated in line with anti-terror laws.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera confirmed that two of the luxury hotels were bombed by two brothers from a wealthy Colombo family involved in spice exports.
The group of Islamists had used one bomber at each of the locations hit on Easter Sunday, except at Shangri-La hotel where there were two suicide explosions.
One of the Shangri-La bombers was Zahran Hashim, the leader of the local jihadist group responsible for the audacious attacks that were claimed by the Daesh group.
Hashim headed the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) which has since been banned. He attacked the Shangri-La in the company of fellow Islamist Ilham Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim.
Ilham’s elder brother Inshaf Ahmed was the man who bombed the nearby Cinnamon Grand hotel.
The third hotel to be targeted, the Kingsbury, was bombed by a man identified as Mohamed Azzam Mubarak Mohamed. His wife was now in police custody, Gunasekera said.
The St. Anthony’s Church was targeted by a local resident named Ahmed Muaz. His brother has been arrested. The St. Sebastian bomber was Mohamed Hasthun, a resident from the island’s east where Hashim was based.
The Christian Zion church in the eastern district of Batticaloa was hit by a local resident, Mohamed Nasser Mohamed Asad.
Another man who failed to set a bomb off at a de luxe hotel, but blasted his explosives at a guest house near the capital. He was identified as Abdul Latheef who had studied both in Britain and Australia.
Shortly after the hotel bomb attacks, Fathima Ilham, the wife of the younger of the two brothers, blasted explosives strapped to herself, killing her two children and three police officers who rushed to the family home in Colombo.
“We are going to use prevention of terrorist financing laws to confiscate their property,” Gunasekera said.


Philippines’ Duterte loses patience, orders trash shipped back Canada

Updated 22 May 2019
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Philippines’ Duterte loses patience, orders trash shipped back Canada

  • Canada says the waste, exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a commercial transaction not backed by the Canadian government
  • Canada has since offered to take the rubbish back

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept the trash, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
“The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nation,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told a media briefing.
Canada says the waste, exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a commercial transaction not backed by the Canadian government.
Canada has since offered to take the rubbish back and the two countries are in the process of arranging the transfer.
But Canada missed a May 15 deadline set by Manila to take back the shipment, prompting the Philippines to withdraw top diplomats from Canada last week.
“Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dump site,” Panelo said.
The Canadian embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Philippines has made several diplomatic protests to Canada since a 2016 court ruling that the garbage be returned.
The consignments were labelled as containing plastics to be recycled in the Philippines but were filled with a variety of rubbish including diapers, newspapers and water bottles.
The issue is not the only one to strain ties between the two countries.
Last year, Duterte ordered the military to cancel a $233 million deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada, after Ottawa expressed concern they could be used to fight rebels.