Sri Lanka to review visa restrictions to deal Jihadist threat

Sri Lanka on Thursday said it was taking the al Qaeda threat "very seriously" and would review its visa restrictions to prevent jihadists from entering the country.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 04, 2014, 22:19 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Thursday said it was taking the al Qaeda threat "very seriously" and would review its visa restrictions to prevent jihadists from entering the country.

"This is a matter that has to be taken very seriously," Information minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

"We have already tightened our visa restrictions but we may have to take some more measures," he said.

Though he did not elaborate on the new measures but said any action taken would not be targeting specific countries but will only be aimed at preventing "terrorists" from getting in.

Rambukwella's comments came after al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri declared today in a video message that the global Islamist extremist movement has launched a new branch to lead its struggle in the Indian sub-continent.

Sri Lanka has recently tightened visa restrictions for people from war-torn nations as well as those affected by the spreading Ebola virus.

Sri Lanka withdrew its visa-on-arrival system in 2012.

It now screens all visitors before they arrived in the island except those from Singapore and the Maldives in line with reciprocal arrangements.