Colombo, Jan 5 (IANS) At least 36 Sri Lankans have reportedly left for Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group, a senior official has said.
Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that, according to reports, the Sri Lankans had left with their families, including women and children.
“They had said they were going on pilgrimage but I believe that some of them have joined the ISIS,” Xinhua quoted Hettiarachchi as saying on Monday.
The first Sri Lankan, known as Abhu Shuraih Sailani who allegedly joined the IS, was reportedly killed in an air strike in July in Syria.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had ordered an immediate probe to find out if Sailani was alone in deciding to head for Syria to join the terrorist group.
Sri Lanka’s intelligence recently handed over a confidential report to President Maithripala Sirisena and Wickremesinghe regarding the Sri Lankans leaving for Syria.
Sri Lanka’s Muslim organisations and leaders of the community have condemned the IS and accused its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of violating the tenets of Islam.