Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena beefs up security after reports of assassination plot

Police say they have detained an Indian national in connection with the alleged scheme

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2018, 12:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2018, 8:28am

Sri Lanka’s president has heightened his security following reports of an assassination plot involving an alleged Indian intelligence operative, his adviser said on Thursday.

Maithripala Sirisena took the undisclosed security measures after a police informant claimed that a senior officer discussed with him plans to kill the president, adviser Shiral Lakthilaka said.

“The president has taken the threat very seriously,” Lakthilaka told reporters in Colombo. “The president’s security has been increased.”

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Police in Sri Lanka said they were still investigating the alleged plot and had detained an Indian national.

Sirisena had “told the cabinet of local media reports of an Indian intelligence agency being involved”, Lakthilaka said. “He did not name the agency.”

But Sirisena’s office has denied laying blame for the plot on the Indian government, following earlier media reports to that effect in Sri Lanka and India which quoted unnamed ministers in Colombo.

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Both Sirisena and Indian Premier Narendra Modi spoke on the phone on Wednesday, with the Sri Lankan leader “categorically” rejecting reports he had accused New Delhi of involvement, Modi’s office said.

Sirisena’s predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had accused India’s external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, of engineering his defeat at the January 2015 election, a charge New Delhi has repeatedly denied.