© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Sri Lanka bomb blasts: At least 138 dead, hundreds injured in churches and hotels
BOMB blasts hitting three churches during Easter Sunday service and high-end hotels across Sri Lanka have killed at least 137 people, leaving several injured.
According to CNN live updates, eight explosions have been reported in the Country on Sunday. The bomb blasts including three Catholic churches named St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana, and Zion Church in Batticaloa were attacked during the early morning mass for Easter Sunday.
Three hotels named Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury, all in Sri Lanka state capital – Colombo, were also hit. The other two which was the seventh and eighth explosions took place in the Dehiwela and Dematagoda areas respectively.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene told the press that action would be taken to stop the activity of all extremist groups in the country.
According to the country’s Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, on Twitter, he said the Social media has been temporarily banned while the state has constituted 12-hour curfew from 6 pm. “The seventh and eighth explosions seem to be by those in the ring running from the law, he tweeted.
The Sri Laka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the blasts on Twitter, calling on Sri Lankans to remain united and strong.” He had convened an emergency meeting with the country top military officials at an emergency meeting following the blast. He has also called for an emergency convening of the nations’ parliament on Monday.
Sri Lanka is an island country in the South Asian region. It is a country where Buddhism religion contains 70. 2 per cent, while Islam and Christianity religions consist of 9.7 and 7.4 per cent of the population respectively.
Among those killed in the bomb blasts were at least twenty foreigners, according to hospital Director General Anil Jasinghe on CNN.
The police and security services had already sealed off the affected areas.
The residents of Colombo were reported to be helping the victims by donating blood. Colombo resident Usman Ali told the BBC there were massive queues as he joined people trying to donate blood. “Everyone had just one intention and that was to help the victims of the blast, no matter what religion or race they may be. Each person was helping another out in filling forms,” he said.
World leaders have condemned the Easter Sunday attack in the country.
President of the European Union Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, expressed via his official Twitter handle his “horror and sadness” upon learning of the blasts “costing the lives of so many people”. “I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims who had gathered to worship peacefully or come to visit this beautiful country” he tweeted.
Theresa May, United Kingdom Prime Minister also condemned the Sri Lanka bombings. “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time, she tweeted.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear,” May said on Twitter.
Part of the security measures taken also included the closing of all schools across Sri Lanka till Wednesday due, CNN stated the official government news portal.