Sri Lanka wakes up in shock after a series of attacks

Sri Lanka is recovering on Monday from the worst attacks that have hit the country for 10 years. The situation remains tense despite the lifting of the curfew A series of explosions in churches and luxury hotels have left 290 dead and more ...


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Attacks in Sri Lanka: On the site of the church of San Sebastián in Negambo, one of the establishments struck by explosions, the police conduct the investigation, April 22, 2019. REUTERS / Athit Perawongmetha

Sri Lanka is recovering on Monday from the worst attacks that have hit the country for 10 years. The situation remains tense despite the lifting of the curfew A series of explosions in churches and luxury hotels have left 290 dead and more than 500 wounded Sunday. A balance sheet still provisional. The Sri Lankan police have arrested several suspects even though it is still unknown which terrorist organization they belong to.

from our special envoy to Colombo

Traffic resumed gradually on Monday morning with the curfew lifted at 6am local time. Sunday night the streets were totally deserted except for the presence of military groups who controlled the vehicles in Colombo and on the way to the airport. At the airport there were long queues, both for those trying to leave the island and passengers arriving, who had to wait several hours before finding a taxi.

Life seems to have started again, even though the Sri Lankan authorities have advised people to stay at home. Social networking platforms, mainly Facebook and WhatsApp remain largely inaccessible in the country. This is mainly to prevent the spread of false rumors or messages and pictures inciting hatred towards certain religious communities.

Violence reported to the Muslim community in the evening of Sunday

According to the police, a molotov cocktail was thrown at a mosque and several Muslim-owned businesses were set on fire in the west of the country. The attacks of Sunday could be the work, according to the Sri Lankan government, of a small Islamic group. The prime minister admitted that the Sri Lankan police had heard of the preparations for attacks last week, but he could not act in time.

These revelations, which the government is distilling off, risk exacerbating the already strong tensions between the Buddhist majority, which represents 70% of the population, and the Muslim community, which represents 10%.

24 suspects arrested

There are now 24 suspects arrested since Sunday. They must be questioned by the police. A white van, allegedly used to transport the suspects, was also intercepted and his driver detained.

According to Sri Lankan police, several of the explosions, targeting 3 churches and several luxury hotels , were provoked by suicide bombers.

On Sunday evening, an improvised explosive device was also discovered near Colombo airport. But for now we still do not know the motives behind this attack, nor the organization behind it.

Investigators inspect the site of an explosion in a church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on April 21. REUTERS / Stringer NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES. TEMPLATE OUT

ref: rfi

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