Sri Lanka police chief refuses to quit

April 27, 2019 10:02 pm | Updated 10:02 pm IST - Colombo

Sri Lanka’s police chief has refused a request by President Maithripala Sirisena to step down following suicide bombings on churches and hotels, two sources at the President’s Office said on Saturday, deepening the rift at top levels of government.

Mr. Sirisena, facing criticism over the massive intelligence failure, blamed the Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara and Defence Secretary Hemesiri Fernando for not sharing advance warnings of the attacks with him.

Mr. Fernando resigned earlier this week, but Mr. Jayasundara was holding on, two officials said.

“He has refused to resign despite the President's request,” one of the sources said. Under Sri Lanka's Constitution, only Parliament can remove the police chief.

The blasts have exposed the divisions between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, with both saying they had not seen warnings given by India.

Mr. Jayasundara, the police chief, was handpicked for the job by Mr. Wickremesinghe. The first source at the President’s office said Mr. Sirisena was still expecting him to turn in his papers. The second source confirmed the situation.

Both sources declined to be identified.

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