As the world mourns with Sri Lanka, investigations are underway amidst heavily tightened security throughout the country. Easter morning services, and families celebrating the holiday were met with the most cruel and senseless act of terrorism.
What We Know So Far
Reports that have been shared with global media so far include a breakdown of the attack timings, places that were hit, and the death total which is up to 290 fatalities. The Sri Lankan government has not only declared an emergency curfew throughout Colombo, major social media networking sites and messaging apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been blocked in the country. This was apparently done in an effort to curb the spread of misinformation, rumors, and what’s widely known as fake news in these times. However, with many of us who have friends and family currently residing in Colombo, this is a period of utmost distress and anxiety, not being able to reach them until the ban is lifted.
A Resurgence of Violence
It’s only been 10 years since Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long civil war ended taking almost 100,000 lives. Just as the island nation was slowly recovering from all the tragedy and bloodshed, yesterday’s terrorist attack ripped open the old wounds of war, spreading trauma, grief, and confusion in its wake.
Though no single person nor any extremist groups have claimed responsibility for the eight bombs that were detonated across Colombo, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe has acknowledged that the government had some “prior information of the attack”, as reported by The Star Online.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged that no ministers were informed of this information however, there are reports of official documents showing Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara had issued an intelligence alert to top-ranked officers about 10 days ago, warning of an imminent bomb plot on “prominent churches.”
A Bloody Aftermath
With over 500 people injured and 290 deaths, top leaders around the world have offered their support, love, and condolences while condemning the bombings.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose country also recently suffered a terrorist attack aimed at houses of worship, said in a statement: “Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.” And Pope Francis, while addressing people in St. Peter’s Square, said, “I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.”
The Malaysian government has pledged to provide assistance and help to Sri Lanka, with Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah conveying Malaysia’s deepest condolences to the victims and families affected by the senseless and barbaric attacks. “Malaysia strongly condemns the act of terrorism and urges that the perpetrators to be brought to justice,” he said.
Follow live reporting on the tragic event with BBC News here.