Apr 23, 2019

Sri Lanka attacks: Who are National Thowheed Jamath?

A previously little-known group called the National Thowheed Jamath is being accused of having carried out the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. Until Monday, when the Sri Lankan government spokesman mentioned its name, very few people had heard of the NTJ. The group is believed to have splintered off from another hardline Islamist group in the country, the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath. Some reports have also linked the NTJ to a spate of vandalism last December that targeted Buddhist temples in Mawanella, central Sri Lanka. Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka director for the International Crisis Group think tank, also told BBC 5Live that the NTJ "Appears to be the same group" as those behind the Mawanella vandalism. While not naming the NTJ directly, the Sri Lankan president's office echoed this belief that whichever group was behind the attacks had help from abroad. "The intelligence sections have reported that there are international terror groups which are behind the local terrorists," a statement from President Maithripala Sirisena said.

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