easter attack
Security personnel stand guard in front of St Anthony's Shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 29, 2019.Reuters

Sri Lanka's former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera have been arrested for their alleged failure to prevent the Easter terror attacks that killed 258 people.

The arrests took place on Tuesday, a day after the Attorney General Dappula de Livera instructed that the officials should be charged with "grave crimes against humanity", for their inaction to prevent the serial terror attacks in three churches and four hotels in April.

"The two officials should be brought before a magistrate for their criminal negligence to prevent the April 21 attacks," de Livera told the acting police chief Chandana Wickremaratne in a letter.

Both the officials were admitted to hospitals and undergoing treatment when the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) arrested them, police spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara reportedly said.

President Maithripala Sirisena had requested Jayasundera and Fernando to resign on April 25. While Fernando resigned, Jayasundara was sent on compulsory leave when he refused to tender his resignation.

In a parliamentary inquiry initiated by the President, they denied all claims and accused Sirisena of failing to assess the seriousness of the warnings. Sirisena has slammed the inquiry and accused Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of playing vindictive politics behind the panel, reported PTI. 

De Livera also condemned acting police chief for not taking any measures against the accused officials as directed earlier on June 27. The attorney general also named nine other officials who needed to be prosecuted for their role in the relapse of national security.

Despite repeated warnings from Indian intelligence, terror attacks by Islamist militants on churches and luxury hotels took place in Colombo on the occasion of Easter.