By Shamindra Ferdinando
The police have begun questioning five persons, including Hayathu Mohamed Milhan, who had alleged links with the Easter Sunday suicide bombers.
The suspects arrested in the Middle East, following the April 21 attacks, were extradited yesterday.
They were the first Easter Sunday suspects to be extradited since the high profile investigation began. Police headquarters said that all suspects were hardcore members of the group responsible for the Easter attacks.
Police Superintendent attorney-at-law Ruwan Gunasekera said that a team of officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) brought the group of suspects from Jeddah.
The plane carrying them touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) at 4 am, Friday, SP Gunasekera said.
Police described Milhan as a key leader, who had been closely involved with Zahran Hashim, widely believed to be the leader of the now proscribed National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ).
Zahran died in the attack on Shangrila-La. Milhan is believed to have been privy to April 21 operation.
Altogether seven persons carried out suicide attacks on three hotels and three churches. Shangri-La was targeted by two. One suicide bomber was killed in an accidental blast triggered by himself at Dehiwela.
The police said that 30-year-old Milhan had been responsible for the killing of two police constables at Vavnativu, Batticaloa in Nov 2018. The suspect from Kattankudy had been one of Zahran’s closest associates and knew what was happening on the ground. Earlier police arrested two others, including Zahran’s driver over their involvement in Vavunativu killings. Since then, the police have recovered two weapons taken by Milhan from the murdered police officers.
Initially, the police blamed ex-LTTE cadres for Vavnativu killings. One ex- LTTE suspect arrested in connection with the double murder was recently released on a magisterial directive after the police informed Batticaloa court of the latest developments.
Police identified Milhan’s associates as 34-year-old Mohamed Marsook (Maradamunai), Mohideen Sabri (47) of Wellampitiya, Mohamed Ismail (29) of Kattankudy and Aboosally Abubakar (37) of Kebitigollewa.
The police said that with the arrest of the Milhan’s group, the total number of suspects in the custody of the CID was 77 whereas there were 25 held by the Terrorist Investigations Division.