Over 100 Killed, Hundreds Injured In Multiple Blasts In Colombo Churches, Hotels
Updated: April 21, 2019 12:14 IST
Over a 100 people were killed and nearly 300 injured after explosions rocked three churches and three hotels in and around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, following a lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in a country which was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009 during which bomb blasts in the capital were common. The three hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Colombo. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home later in the day.
A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches as worshippers attended Easter services in Sri Lankan capital Colombo.
President Maithripala Sirisena in an address said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm.
Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted: I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.
In just one church, St. Sebastian's in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official told news agency Reuters, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.
St. Sebastian's church posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.
Out of Sri Lanka's total population of around 22 million, 70 percent are Buddhist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim, and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country's 2012 census.