In search operations, approximately thousand mosques were raided. In the process only three mosques were found to have had swords. They are:
The only mosque where people had hidden swords due to fear of retaliation.
Known for criminal activity in the area, local gangsters had hidden weapons and knives in the tank directly in front of the mosque.
Knives used for the annual feast after the hajj pilgrimage.
General N.U.M. Mahesh W. Senanayake, former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, gave this interview to Hiru News where he clarifies the findings of the swords in the mosques and homes of Muslims. He holds the media accountable for blowing up the incidents.
MS: Checked Muslim houses; found knifes, small guns, etc. If they search in Sinhala houses, they’d find more. I’m saying this since I too have in my place!
Moderator: Are these findings good or bad?
MS: Finding things is okay. But, media showing it in a very negative way! It misleads the public.
On social media, misleading photos were being spread to make it seem that many mosques were hiding weapons. AFP Sri Lanka wrote an article about such images showing swords being handed over to the military giving the impression to the viewers that they were found in a mosque during a raid. But the fact is that they were photographs taken prior to 2010 following the final defeat of the LTTE.
“AFP spoke to Sri Lanka’s Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, who said in a WhatsApp message dated June 3, 2019
“Those photos were posted many years ago in the Army website, when a general amnesty was declared by the then government, soon after the Eastern Province was cleared of LTTE terrorism.”
Brigadier Atapattu added that while he was unable to specify the exact date the images were taken, he could confirm it was prior to 2010. Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE ended in May, 2009.
Here is an AFP article about the 10 year anniversary of the war’s end, published May 18, 2019.