The interrogation of a hardcore National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader recently extradited from Saudi Arabia has led to the single biggest detection of explosives belonging to the now proscribed organisation.
The police identified the suspect as Hayathu Mohammadu Ahamed Milhan, a close associate of Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of Easter Sunday bombing campaign. Zahran triggered a suicide blast at luxury Shangri-la hotel.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday recovered 1,000 detonators, over 300 gelignite sticks, eight liters of liquid gelignite, detonator code and nearly 500 rounds of T-56 ammunition buried at Ollikulam in the Kattankudy police area.
Police headquarters spokesperson attorney-at-law Ruwan Gunasekera told The Island last night that the CID had taken Milhan to Ollikulam, where the suspect revealed the buried items.
Milhan was among five terrorist suspects deported from Saudi Arabia on June 14 following negotiations between the two governments.
They have left the country before the Easter Sunday attacks.
SP Gunasekera earlier in the day told The Island that Milhan had been involved in the first major terrorist attack carried out by the group on Nov 30, 2018 at Vavnativu, Batticaloa, where NTJ activists killed two police officers.
The NTJ had subsequently damaged several Buddha statues on Dec 22 and 26, 2018 in the Mawanella police area, followed by an attempt to kill Mohamed Rasik Mohamed Naslim at Danagame, Mawanella on March 09, 2019, controlled explosion of a motorcycle at Kattankudy on April 16 and Easter Sunday carnage on April 21, 2019, SP Gunasekera said.
SP Gunasekera said that two brothers responsible for the destruction of Buddha statues had been arrested in the Gampola police area following Easter Sunday attacks. The police official identified them as residents of Delgahagoda, Mawanella. Responding to another query, SP Gunasekera said that the CID had arrested Abo Hanifa Mohamed Mufees, 26, involved with the brothers wanted over destruction of Buddha statues during a raid on Lactos estate in the Puttalam area on January 16, 2019. In addition to Mufees, the CID arrested three others namely Amir Hamza Mohamed Hamaz (25), Mohamed Nafeez Mohammed Navith (20) and Mohamed Nafeez Mohamed Nafrid.
According to SP Gunasekera, the detection made in Kattankudy yesterday was the biggest one since the recovery of NTJ hardware made in Lactos estate where 99 detonators were among the items found.
Of those arrested from Lactos estate, two persons, Mohamed Nafeez Mohammed Navith and Mohamed Nafeez Mohamed Nafrid, were produced before Mawanella Magistrate on April 10, 2019. According to SP Gunasekera, the suspects in terms of the bail conditions, reported to CID on April 27, May 25 and were scheduled to report again tomorrow (29).