Who is the real Mastermind?

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The Sri Lankan Minister of Public Security Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasakera speaking in Parliament recently made a revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States confirmed that Mohamed Naufar aka Naufar Moulavi was the mastermind of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

“It is clear that the mastermind of this is Nauffer Moulavi, according to our investigations and American investigations. It was also confirmed by Zaharan’s wife. The FBI has also confirmed Nauffer played the main role in this attack.” Minister Weerasekara said on the 19th of May in Parliament.

When News 1st asked the US Embassy in Colombo whether the FBI has confirmed that the mastermind behind the Easter attacks is “Naufer Moulavi”, the Embassies response was the following:

“Following the Easter Sunday attacks, the Government of Sri Lanka asked for our support, and the FBI responded quickly, partnering effectively with Sri Lankan counterparts to investigate the tragic terrorist attacks.”

On the 8th of January 2021, the US Justice Department has issued a release regarding the April 21st attacks and the arrest of three Sri Lankans, for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.

 “Today, we charge these defendants with bearing their share of the responsibility for these deaths. According to these charges, the defendants were committed supporters of ISIS, recruited others to ISIS’s violent cause, purchased materials for and made IEDs, helped to prepare and trained others who participated in the attacks, and murdered in the name of this deadly foreign terrorist organization,” the release read.

The three defendants named in the criminal complaint, all of whom pledged allegiance to ISIS, are:

  1. Mohamed Naufar, the “second emir” for the group of ISIS supporters that called itself “ISIS in Sri Lanka,” who allegedly led the group’s propaganda efforts, recruited others to join ISIS, and led a series of multi-day military-type training;
  2. Mohamed Anwar Mohamed Riskan, who allegedly helped manufacture the IEDs used in the Easter Attacks; and
  3. Ahamed Milhan Hayathu Moha med, who allegedly executed a police officer in order to obtain the officer’s firearm, shot a suspected informant and scouted a location for a separate terrorist attack.

The report issued by the US Department of Justice in January of this year has not explicitly identified Mohamed Naufar aka Naufer Moulavi as the mastermind of these attacks.

This raises two questions. 

  1. Has the FBI uncovered any new information between the time that this report was issued and the time the Minister made the statement in Parliament? If so, what are these developments? 
  2. If the FBI did possess information about the Mastermind of the April 21st attacks before this report, why was this informed to the Minister of Public security in Sri Lanka and not informed to the US DoJ?

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