Colombo, April 21, 2019: As many as 215 people are dead in an Easter Sunday terrorist attack targeting Christians in Sri Lanka after eight explosions ripped through high-end hotels and churches as suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up.
Seven suspects have been arrested after the explosions injured up to 500 people, and the country’s foreign minister said at least 27 foreigners were among those killed. Earlier reports indicated that nationals from the UK, US, Netherlands and Portugal were among the dead.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena declares an island-wide curfew from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday, an official at the President’s office just confirmed. Sri Lanka government has imposed ‘temporary’ social media ban after blasts, news agency AFP reported.
Helpline numbers from Indian Mission in Sri Lanka
India has said that it was closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka. “Explosions have been reported in Colombo and Batticaloa today. We are closely monitoring the situation. Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may call the following numbers: +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo tweeted.
“In addition to the numbers given, Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may also call the following numbers +94777902082 +94772234176,” the High Commission also tweeted.
No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condemn the blasts, saying there is “no place for such barbarism in our region” and “India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”
At least 45 people have died in Colombo, 68 in Negombo and 27 in Batticaloa
The churches targeted include St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and another church in Batticaloa.
The hotels targeted include the Shangrila, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has tweeted saying, “I am in constant touch with Indian High Commissioner in Colombo. We are keeping a close watch on the situation.”
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took to Twitter to “strongly condemn” the blasts targeting churches and hotels, as he called upon the citizens to “remain united and strong”.
“The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation,” he wrote.