Friday, October 23, 2020

Sri Lanka: Eight arrests after attacks

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Zubair Yaqoob
Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at wnobserver.com He can be reached at: [email protected]

Few hours after the attacks on hotels and churches in Sri Lanka, another explosive device has been discovered near the island’s largest airport.

This was a pipe bomb, said the spokesman for the Air Force, Gihan Seneviratne, on Sunday the online edition of the local “Sunday Times”. A patrol had found the explosive device near Bandaranaike airport later  rendered harmless by special forces in a controlled area.

So far, eight people were arrested with alleged connection to the series of attacks.

The suspects were residents of the island nation, however, the authorities were investigating of possible connections to foreign countries, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday.

Earlier, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the law enforcers were investigating evidence that all the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.

As Wickremesinghe says, it should also have been long before the explosions hinted at the attacks.

Sri Lanka’s intelligence service had been informed. It now has to be investigated why no action has been taken, the head of government said.

At several crime scenes eyewitnesses reported that suicide bombers blew themselves up. Gunasekera did not want to confirm this information with reference to ongoing investigations.

In the devastating series of attacks on Christian churches and hotels, more than 215 people have been killed on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka – including 32 foreigners.

This was reported by the country’s tourism office on Sunday. These included citizens of India, the United States, Great Britain, Portugal, China, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey.

According to the authorities, more than 500 people were injured in the coordinated explosions.

There were at least eight detonations, including three in churches and three more in luxury hotels. Deputy Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene spoke of a “terrorist attack” and blamed extremists for the bloody deeds.

The responsible persons are identified, he said. He imposed a nationwide curfew until early Monday morning. The government also temporarily closed access to social media on Sunday.

The South Asian island nation with its tropical beaches is a popular tourist destination for Germans and other Europeans. There has been no major attack for years. In 2009, a civil war had come to an end there.

There were explosions in two Catholic and the St. Anthony’s Church in the capital Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in the Negombo, about 30 kilometers from the capital, and Zions Church in Batticaloa, about 250 kilometers east of Colombo.

Easter church services were taking place in the churches. Most sacrifices were made in the churches. There were also explosions in the 5-star hotels Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury in Colombio.

There should also have been injured foreigners. Later, a seventh explosion was reported in a small hotel in a suburb of Colombo, the capital with two dead.

Eighth explosion occurred in the afternoon in a residential area in Dematagoda, another suburb of Colombo.

The explosions took place almost simultaneously – after first reports within half an hour. The first one was reported from the church in Colombo, the rest within just 30 minutes.

Read also: Sri Lanka explosions: 185 dead, 400 injured

Zubair Yaqoob
Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at wnobserver.com He can be reached at: [email protected]

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