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South Asia

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Quits Following Suicide Bomb Attacks

Hemasiri Fernando said while there had been no failure on his own part, he was taking responsibility for failures of some institutions he headed.

Colombo: Sri Lankan defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando told Reuters on Thursday that he had resigned, taking responsibility for the suicide bomber attacks on the country last Sunday.

He said that while there had been no failure on his own part, he was taking responsibility for failures of some institutions he headed as the secretary of defence.

He said that security agencies were actively responding to intelligence they had about the possibility of attacks before they were launched.

“We were working on that. All those agencies were working on that,” he said.

The Easter Sunday bombings on churches and luxury hotels killed at least 359 people and wounded about 500.

Fernando and Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujith Jayasundera were both asked to quit by President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday.

The island nation has so far taken at least 76 suspects of into custody. Though the Sri Lankan government believes that a local Islamist group, the National Tawheed Jamath, is behind the bombings, the group has not claimed responsibility so far.

Terror group Islamic State has claimed responsibility and identified the suicide bombers.

(With inputs from Reuters)