Sri Lanka Catholic cardinal fears attacks probe may ‘flop’

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The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholics Sunday expressed fears that an official investigation into Easter bombings that killed 253 people will end up a “flop”, casting doubt on the government’s ability to bring the attackers to justice.

Speaking to reporters at his first public appearance since last week’s attacks on churches and hotels, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith slammed what he described as Sri Lanka’s culture of impunity, saying many high-profile assassinations over the past 30 years had remained largely unsolved.

“There is a certain amount of suspicion among our people that there will be no more follow up, only words.... If they (the authorities) are sincere, they must have a thorough investigation,” he said.

The cardinal said he had heard that President Maithripala Sirisena had appointed a commission of inquiry into the massacre.

“But we never heard if that commission had any sittings. Nothing at all, we were never consulted. We are afraid that this commission might just end up being a flop,” he said at a candlelight vigil organized by a state-owned newspaper company.

Police say they have arrested more than 150 people suspected to be involved with the coordinated suicide bombings that devastated three luxury hotels and three churches, two of which are Roman Catholic.

The cardinal has repeatedly assailed the authorities for failing to share intelligence reports that had warned of an impending jihadist attack against Christians, saying he felt “betrayed” by the government.

“If they warned me, I would have cancelled the Easter services,” he said Sunday at a privately televised mass after he ordered all Catholic church services to be suspended.

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