By Norman Palihawadane
CID sleuths have questioned close associates of Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen, the man who carried out the attack at a shopping mall in New Zealand.
A senior police officer said that investigations revealed that the attacker had left Sri Lanka as a student in 2011. His close associates are now being questioned in order to gather more information about him.
Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen was a resident of Kattankudy.
Police and CID teams had so far not discovered any link between Samsudeen and the Zahran group that carried out the Easter Sunday attacks here, even though the former’s hometown had been at one time a hotbed for such extremists, the officer said.
Samsudeen grabbed a knife at the mall in Auckland and attacked shoppers on Friday, injuring seven, including three critically.
New Zealand Police, who were undercover at the mall, shot and killed the man after he stabbed seven people.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said Samsudeen was under Police surveillance and was a supporter of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
New Zealand agency reports quoted Ardern as saying the man came to New Zealand in 2011 as a 22-year-old, travelling on a student visa. Whether he held extremist views at the time was unknown. He first came to the attention of the police in 2016 after posting extremist material and reposting videos on Facebook. The videos were about war and violence, including a terror bombing in Europe. He was spoken to twice by police that year, in April and May. He was then arrested at Auckland International Airport in May 2017, as police believed he was travelling to Syria to join ISIS, agency reports said adding that New Zealand government had tried for years to deport Samsudeen.
The New Zealand Government released more details on the suspect following the lifting of a court suppression order.
New Zealand court documents made public yesterday said Samsudeen, 32, had arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago on a student visa seeking refugee status, which was granted in 2013.
Samsudeen was inspired by the Islamic State militant group and was being monitored constantly but he could not be kept in prison by law any longer, the government has said.
He came to the attention of the police and security services in 2016 after he expressed sympathy on Facebook for militant attacks, violent war-related videos and comments advocating violent extremism.