Sri Lanka police wrongly ID American Muslim over attacks

Top security officials have already resigned from their posts. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 April 2019
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Sri Lanka police wrongly ID American Muslim over attacks

  • The blunder comes after Sri Lankan authorities dramatically revised the death toll in the attacks, from nearly 360 dead to 253
  • The revision came after authorities said some victims had been “double-counted”

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police have been left red-faced after wrongly identifying a female American Muslim activist as a suspect in the deadly Easter bombings.
On Thursday, police issued a flyer with the names and photos of six people — three men and three women — wanted in connection with attacks that killed over 250 people.
Among those listed was a woman identified as Abdul Cader Fathima Khadhiya, accompanied by a photo of a woman in a headscarf purported to be the individual wanted for questioning.
But the photo in fact showed Amara Majeed, an American Muslim whose parents are Sri Lankan immigrants and who penned an open letter to President Donald Trump in 2015 about his rhetoric on Muslims.
“Hello everyone! I have this morning been FALSELY identified by the Sri Lankan government as one of the Daesh Easter attackers in Sri Lanka,” Majeed wrote on her Facebook page.
“What a thing to wake up to! This is obviously completely false and frankly, considering that Muslim communities are already greatly afflicted with issues of surveillance, I don’t need more false accusations and scrutiny.”
Sri Lankan police on Thursday issued a statement confirming that the photo published alongside the name “Abdul Cader Fathima Khadhiya” was not in fact of the suspect.
“The individual pictured is not wanted for questioning,” the statement signed by police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
It added that an individual called Abdul Cader Fathima Khadhiya was however still wanted for questioning.
The blunder comes after Sri Lankan authorities dramatically revised the death toll in the attacks, from nearly 360 dead to 253.
The revision came after authorities said some victims had been “double-counted” because bodies were blown apart in the attacks and misidentified.


India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Updated 22 September 2019

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.