U.S. welcomes Lanka’s counter terrorism strategies | Daily News


State Dept Country Report on Terrorism

U.S. welcomes Lanka’s counter terrorism strategies

Notes success of probe into Easter attacks
Hails efforts to combat violent extremism

The US Department of State in its country report on Terrorism highlighted that Sri Lanka has taken steps to improve its counter terrorism strategies by engaging with the United States specifically on improving border security.

Amendments to existing laws will help in prosecuting terrorism cases in future, the report said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The report praised the Government’s efforts to arrest and detain all those who have been linked to the terror attacks on Easter Sunday.

“The Police remained under the Ministry of Defense at year’s end. The Easter attacks highlighted gaps in information sharing among Sri Lanka’s security sector agencies. Reforms to address these issues were underway at year’s end. Sri Lanka Police cooperated extensively with the FBI on the investigation into the Easter attacks. All suspects related to these attacks are currently in custody. Indictments for these attacks were pending at year’s end.”

On countering violent extremism, the report noted that following the Easter Sunday terror attacks, the Sri Lankan Government has established a new office under the Ministry of Defence to create a new policy to counter violent extremism. “Discussions of education reforms and other measures were underway at year’s end.”

In reference to legislation, law enforcement and border security, the US Department of State noted that although the Sri Lankan Government continued to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act

to arrest and detain individuals, a draft Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) which was set to repeal and replace the PTA remained under debate in Parliament.

“According to international and domestic legal experts, the CTA would clarify the definition and punishment for terrorist activities and provide a current schedule of designated terrorist organizations. The first version of the schedule designated three domestic terrorist organizations, all of which had been connected to the Easter attacks.” the report cited.

Although ISIS’s caliphate fell and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in 2019, the threat from the terror group has “evolved,” and continues to conduct and inspire attacks, the report said. The State Department also announced Wednesday that it was increasing its reward for information leading to ISIS’s new leader, Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, who is also known as Abu Muslim al-Turkmani. The U.S. government will now provide up to $10 million for details leading to his whereabouts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, adding, “We’re undaunted in our pursuit of bringing terrorists to justice.”

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