More Than 200 Killed In Sri Lanka Church And Hotel Bombings On Easter Sunday
By Parker Diakite
More than 200 people are dead and hundreds more are wounded after a series of bombings across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
A total of eight bombs went off in Colombo, the country’s capital, in three churches and three luxury hotels, as reported in CTV News.
Witnesses described powerful explosions, followed by scenes of smoke, blood, broken glass, alarms going off and victims screaming in terror.
The explosions collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, and people were seen carrying the wounded out of blood-spattered pews.
“People were being dragged out,” Bhanuka Harischandra, of Colombo, told CTV News. “People didn’t know what was going on. It was panic mode. There was blood everywhere.”
This incident is the deadliest violence the South Asian island country has seen since the country’s civil war ended nearly a decade ago, the publication reported.
13 suspects believed to be members of a religious extremist group were arrested in what the country’s Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described as a terrorist attack.
St. Anthony’s Shrine and the three hotels where the blasts took place are in Colombo, and are frequented by tourists. Most of the people killed were Sri Lankans but officials confirmed that the bodies of at least 27 people from various countries were recovered, including the United States, United Kingdom, China and Portugal.
As of now, the Sri Lankan government has imposed a nationwide curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and blocked Facebook and other social media outlets to reduce the spread of false information.
Other blasts were reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a majority Catholic town north of Colombo, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa.
Sri Lanka, situated off the southern tip of India, is about 70 percent Buddhist, with the rest of the population identifying as Muslim, Hindu or Christian.