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Sri Lanka military ready to face Al-Qaeda threat

As Western media reports yesterday spoke of Al-Qaeda forming an Indian militant group to `raise the flag of jihad` across South Asia, the Sri Lanka military said the country had an effective mechanism not only to protect the nation, but also to face any external threat that may surface. 

Military Spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya made this observation on the fugitive al-Qaeda commander Ayman al-Zawahari`s announcement, which came early Thursday, from an undisclosed location, about the formation of a new wing of militants to wage jihad in the Indian subcontinent that is Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmadabad and Kashmir. He promised that al-Qaeda will now expand its operations throughout the Asian region. 
Brigadier Wanigasooriya added that such a statement from a terror groups was not surprising. `There is `no need to panic` over a fanatic`s message although it`s a serious issue if al-Qaeda militants start operating in India. 
We are `alert and vigilant` over all the `isms` such as separatism, terrorism, Jihadism and extremism which is rocking the world,` the Brigadier asserted. 

He added Sri Lanka`s national security is strengthened and it`s an ongoing process. `We are not relaxing though we wiped out terrorism in the country,` he said.
The military spokesman clarified that Sri Lanka has an effective mechanism not only to keep vigil over al-Qaeda but to any external threats. 

Asked if security would be strengthened further, after al Zawari proclaimed the formation of a new wing in India, the Brigadier said, `It`s a concern, but we are continuously evaluating the developments in the region and constantly consulting the other nations in that regard because terrorism is a global worry.` 
Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana, when contacted, said there was no room for any extremism in the country and Sri Lanka`s security measures are very much strengthened. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Dilanthe Withanage of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) said `The video released by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri clearly shows that what we have been saying for the past several years is true. However, no one believed what we said. Repeatedly we tried to warn the leaders of the country of the danger this situation posed`. 
He claimed the Army spokesman had denied the existence of Muslim extremism. Even if he knows the truth as the spokesman for the army he will not reveal it, as it may cause panic with mass hysteria, he pointed out. We accept that the majority of Muslims living in Sri Lanka are innocent. However, this situation is a threat to both the security of Sri Lanka and the whole of South Asia, Withanage opined. 

A BBC report last morning said `Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced in a videoed message the creation of an Indian branch of his militant group to `raise the flag of jihad` across South Asia. 
In the 55-minute video posted online, Zawahari pledged renewed loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. 
Correspondents say his stated allegiance is an apparent snub to Islamic State (ISS) militants. ISS is challenging al-Qaeda to lead worldwide Islamist militancy. 

Announcing the formation of `al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent` using a mixture of his native Arabic and Urdu widely spoken in Pakistan, Zawahiri appeared eager to regain some of the limelight, correspondents say. 
`Al-Qaeda is an entity that was formed to prom 

He urged the `umma`, or Muslim nation, to` wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive its caliphate`. Zawahiri said `al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent` would be good news for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat, and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression. 

Counter-terrorism experts say al-Qaeda`s ageing leadership is vying with ISS to recruit followers after the success of militants in the Middle East in attracting young followers worldwide by conquering large amounts of territory across Iraq and Syria. 

ISS leader Abu AbuBakr al-Baghdadi describes himself as a `caliph` - or head of state - and has called for the support of all Muslims around the world? 
The two groups fell out in 2013 over the ISS expansion into Syria, where Baghdadi`s followers have carried out decapitations, crucifixions, and other forms of capital punishment`.

http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2014/9/89601.html

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