Series of explosions rock the country
Easter Sunday Services marRed by blasts


207 dead (27 foreigners)
450 injured
St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya. Picture by Kelum Liyanage
St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya. Picture by Kelum Liyanage

A total of 207 people were killed and over 450 injured following a series of bomb attacks on Catholic churches and hotels in Colombo and elsewhere yesterday.

The explosions took place during Easter Sunday Services in churches. The horrendous blasts took place at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, St. Sebestian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana and the Zion Church in Batticaloa.

The bombs had gone off at the same time in all the churches at around 8:45 am.

Bomb explosions were also reported from the Kingsbury, Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand Hotels in Colombo. Later, another explosion was reported at a shop near the Dehiwala zoo where two people were killed. The Police arrested seven suspects in connection with the bomb blast in Dematagoda and in an ensuing gun battle and a bomb explosion, a Police Sub-Inspector and two Police Constables died.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police clamped down a Police Curfew from 6.00 pm yesterday to 6.00 am today while all schools and universities will remain closed till Wednesday.

Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando meanwhile said the Tri-Forces and Police were doing everything possible to bring the situation under control within a short period of time.

“It has been 10 years since we last saw this kind of horror,” Secretary Fernando said.

The Defence Secretary also confirmed that Police had received an alert about a potential attack on churches earlier this month. He said that a letter to various police units to take necessary action on the early intelligence had been sent.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha confirmed that 27 foreigners were among the fatalities in the Easter Sunday attacks.

“We visited morgues and hospitals. In terms of those deceased ambassadors of their countries in Colombo have been informed. ” Aryasinha said.

According to authorities, five foreigners who died have been identified and five more foreign nationals are reported missing.

Meanwhile, a special meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers too was held yesterday afternoon where State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardane briefed the ministers about the situation.

The President has ordered a full-scale investigation into the blasts to arrest those involved in it.

State Minister Wijewardene said, there is no chance that those who carried out this could get away with this act. “The government will not tolerate such actions. The perpetrators or those extremists will be found out and punished no matter who they are,” he stressed.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he regards this incident as an assault targeting the country’s economy.” The main concern of the country is to keep the peace at this point,” he said.

The government said that the state will administer funeral expenses for the dead.

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