Mass funerals on Sri Lanka’s day of mourning

Sri Lanka has held its first mass funeral as the country marks a day of mourning for the victims of Sunday's bomb blasts. The death toll from the attacks on churches and hotels has risen to 310 with about 500 wounded, police said...


Sri Lanka has held its first mass funeral as the country marks a day of mourning for the victims of Sunday's bomb blasts.

The death toll from the attacks on churches and hotels has risen to 310 with about 500 wounded, police said.

The country has observed three minutes of silence and a state of emergency is in effect to prevent further attacks.

Sri Lanka's government has blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

Police have now detained 40 suspects in connection with the attack. A spokesman said they included a Syrian who was arrested "after the interrogation of local suspects". There were no further details.

The mass funeral for about 30 victims took place at St Sebastian church in Negombo, north of Colombo, which was one of the places targeted in Sunday's blasts.

Another funeral service is scheduled for 15:00 (09:30 GMT) at St Sebastian.

Earlier, a moment of silence was observed at 08:30, reflecting the time the first of six bombs detonated. Flags were lowered to half-mast and people, many of them in tears, bowed their heads in respect.

The state of emergency gives police and the military sweeping powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders - powers that were last used during the nation's civil war.

The government limited access to Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram after the blasts.

NTJ, the group named by the government as the main suspect, has no history of large-scale attacks but came to prominence last year when it was blamed for damaging Buddhist statues.

However, neither NTJ nor any other group has admitted carrying out Sunday's bombings.

Were warnings ignored?
Sunday's attacks have highlighted rifts in Sri Lanka's leadership, after it emerged that authorities were warned about an imminent threat.

Security agencies had been watching the NTJ jihadist group, reports said, and had notified police about a possible attack.

But Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the cabinet were not informed, ministers said.


Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the information was not passed to Mr Wickremesinghe due to a rift between the prime minister and President Maithripala Sirisena.

However, it was not clear on Monday whether Mr Sirisena had been made aware of the warnings.

"Our understanding is that it was correctly circulated among security and police," Shiral Lakthilaka, a senior adviser to Mr Sirisena, told the BBC.

He said that the president had appointed a special committee led by a supreme court judge to investigate what had happened.

Source: BBC



Related Posts

Bawumia’s full EMT town hall speech

Man gets tens of thousands of birthday calls after sons post his phone number on billboards

Ghana may auction Eurobonds with or without final IMF review

Judge questions 1-yr delay in prosecuting man who set 11-yr-old boy ablaze

Muntari joins Spanish side Albacete on one-year deal

Aker oil find: IMANI's valuation sensible; Minister wrong

Prof Opoku-Agyemang writes: On STEM education in Ghana

Efua Sutherland Park now “awful”, “endangered place” – Sutherland’s daughter

Leave a reply
your email address will not be published

Featured Posts

Virgil van Dijk and Vivianne Miedema win PFA Player of the Year awards


Declare $10K+ when entering, leaving Ghana – BoG


NPP, NDC continue militia dialogue


Efua Sutherland Park now “awful”, “endangered place” – Sutherland’s daughter


Nubia announces Red Magic 3, the first gaming phone with an internal cooling fan


Prof Opoku-Agyemang writes: On STEM education in Ghana


Efua Sutherland Park now “awful”, “endangered place” – Sutherland’s daughter