More than a day after the suicide bombings on Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday, which killed nearly 300 people, little is known or said that the militant group of government officials is blamed for the violence.
Several media reports cited health minister Rajitha Senaratne said Monday that an obscure organization called National Thowfeek Jamaath was behind the explosions that shook churches and luxury hotels in and around Colombo yesterday – the capital and largest city in Sri Lanka.
But officials from the island nation off the coast of India have yet to produce any evidence linking the group directly to the bombings. Officials told the Wall Street Journal that their suspicions depended on information received from a nameless foreign government in advance of the attacks, alleging that National Thowfeek Jamaath had planned acts of violence. However, these warnings are not clear enough to take action.
Even the spelling of the group seems to have merged among the international news media into a split consensus Thawahid Jaman to National Thawheed Jama'ut.
SRI LANKA AUTHORITIES OF EASTER CHURCH-BOMBINGS WEEK TOLD BEFORE SUNDAY MASSACRAY, SAY
Responsibility for the bombings in Sri Lanka The Associated Press has quoted Senaratne as saying that the group is causing the attacks probably had help from outside the country ̵
Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena announced on Monday that the country's military forces will be giving war-time powers at midnight to arrest and detain suspects in the bombing. The Associated Press reported that 24 people are already on remand for questioning, but their name, age and affiliation are unclear.
Anne Speckhard, Director of the International Center for Violent Extremism, told The New York Times National Thowfeek Jamaath's mission is to create hatred, fear and division by spreading the global jihadist movement.
The group was formed in 2009 on the east coast of Sri Lanka and became known for vandalism of Buddhist statues and the revival of religious tensions, according to the Wall Street Journal
In March 2017, the group was involved in a clash in the Muslim city of Kattankudy Close to one of the bombings on a Sunday in the church – involving three inmates hospitalized and resulting in ten arrests – the New York Times reported on local media reports.
The Indian Express website says the group was founded in Kattankudy and campaigned for Sharia law in the region.
Still on Easter Sunday, bombings would be a new and radical escalation of violence for National Thowfeek Jamaath and his followers.
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That's surprising for a group most have never heard of before, "said Raffaello Pantucci, member of the London-based think tank of the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security, to the Wall Street Journal , "That makes me suspect that there is an external link, and the Islamic State or al Qaeda are the obvious suspects."
The researchers told the newspaper that Christians and Westerners in Asia and Africa are increasingly being attacked by extremists.