Blasts in Colombo and Various Parts of Country Ruin Easter Celebrations
Asia, News

Blasts in Colombo and Various Parts of Country Ruin Easter Celebrations 

Last updated on April 25th, 2019

As the Easter Sunday started and people began to gather in the churches in Colombo for celebrations, nobody could have imagined that a happy day would turn into the darkest day for the Sri Lankans. Multiple bombings in the capital city claimed lives of many innocent people.

The whole country shook as the blasts took place in the different parts of Colombo and on the eastern coast of the country in Batticaloa. Various churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka were targeted.

The attacks are said to be the most dreadful form of violence to hit the country since the civil war ended – a decade ago. As of now, no terrorist group or individual has claimed the responsibility for the blasts. However, 24 people have been arrested. The identity of the arrested has not been revealed by the authorities.

The death toll has risen to 290, including 36 foreigners, while around 500 people have been injured.
While the first four attacks occurred at 08:45 in the morning with three in Colombo and one in Negambo, the fifth and sixth attacks took place at 08:50 am and 09:05 am in Colombo and Batticaloa respectively. The next two blasts occurred in the afternoon at 01:45 and 02:15 in Dehiwela and Dematagoda, Colombo respectively.

Soon after the attacks, the Sri Lankan government took down the social networks, declared 12 hours curfew, stopped all transport services and shut down all the universities, to ensure no further casualties.

Agence France-Presse claimed that the media has seen the documents, which show that Sri Lankan Police knew before hand that suicide bombers from a local radical Muslim Group National Thowheeth Jama’ath planned to blast popular churches across the country.

Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera condemned the attack. Sri Lankan President Maithripla Sirisena said, “I have given instructions to take very stern action against the persons who are responsible for this conspiracy.”

Various leaders from all over the globe took to Twitter to express sorrow for the victims of the attacks in Colombo, Batticaloa, Negambo, and in Dehiwela.

Pope Francis, from the St Peter’s Basilica said, “I want to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence.”

Luxury hotels targeted in Colombo and Dehiwela include the Kingsbury Hotel, the Cinnamon Grand Hotel and New Tropical Inn. Churches that were attacked include St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Negambo and Zion Roman Catholic Church in Batticaloa.

A bomb also claimed the lives of three police officers, when they were raiding a house and it blasted.

The blast not only claimed 290 lives, it also affected the livelihood of many people indirectly. Schools have been closed for the next two days. People in Colombo traveling via air have been asked to reach the airport four hours before, due to additional security checks.

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