Criminal Investigations Department continues probe into New Zealand terror attack

  • Gathering info from perp’s friends/relatives in Colombo, Kattankudy

By Dinitha Rathnayake

The Sri Lankan Police are still in the process of collecting information from the relatives and friends of the Sri Lankan-born man who recently carried out an Islamic State (IS)-influenced extremist attack in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) and was subsequently gunned down by the law enforcement authorities.

Speaking to The Morning, Police Media Spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nihal Thalduwa said that the gathering of information is taking place in Colombo and Kattankudy, Batticaloa in the Eastern Province.

“The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is still gathering information. We have not found any information sufficient to make a statement yet.”

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has directed the local intelligence services to fully co-operate with the New Zealand authorities inquiring into the knife attack carried out by Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen, aged 32.

The Sri Lankan man who went on a knife rampage in a New Zealand mall, was brainwashed by neighbours from the Middle East (ME), according to his mother, who was quoted in media reports.

Samsudeen who was shot dead by the Police after stabbing seven people, had been on a terror watch list and was under surveillance. The New Zealand authorities said that he had been inspired by the IS.

Samsudeen’s mother accused neighbours, whom she said were from Syria and Iraq, of radicalising her son.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she was horrified that the Sri Lankan national, who had arrived in New Zealand in 2011, had managed to carry out his hateful assault even though he was on a terror watch list.

Eyewitnesses said that the suspect had entered a shopping mall in suburban Auckland and seized a knife from a display before going on a stabbing spree. Six people were wounded, three critically, in the 60 seconds before the surveillance officers opened fire. Shoppers fled for the exits as the firing began.