Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbott said Wednesday that the gunman involved in the siege at a Sydney cafe on Monday was once on the national security agency’s watch list, but was later dropped off for unknown reasons that will now be investigated by authorities. The Australian authorities have been criticized for failing to monitor Man Haron Monis despite his criminal record.
Abbott reportedly said that the bail system failed to prevent the hostage crisis at Lindt Chocolat Cafe that claimed the lives of two hostages and the gunman. The new security laws passed by the government in October also failed to monitor Monis, who had been charged with being an accessory to the murder of his former wife and also faced several sexual assault charges. He had been released on bail. Monis was reportedly on the watch list of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in 2008 and 2009.
“The system did not adequately deal with this individual,” Abbott reportedly said. “Two very decent people are dead, others are injured, others are traumatized because of a madman who was roaming our streets.
"I don't know why he dropped off the watch list in those days, I really don't," he said, adding that Monis had a gun license, The Associated Press reported.
"Plainly there are questions to be asked when someone with such a history of infatuation with extremism, violent crime and mental instability should be in possession of a gun license," Abbott said. "We have very tough gun laws and I guess we can be pleased that he didn't have a more potent weapon at his disposal. But why did he have a gun license in the first place?"
Abbott reportedly vowed that a transparent investigation would be conducted to identify the loopholes that led to the deadly siege. He also reportedly said that authorities are expected to release a full report on all aspects of the siege that ended more than 16 hours after Monis took 17 hostages.