Sri Lanka blasts: President Sirisena calls for calm, says probe underway | The Daily Star
02:04 PM, April 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:35 PM, April 21, 2019

Sri Lanka blasts: President Sirisena calls for calm, says probe underway

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has called upon the people to remain calm and cooperate with the authorities in the ongoing investigations following today’s explosions in the country that left over a hundred people dead and several hundred others injured.

Expressing his shock at the explosions, President Sirisena said in a special statement that he has issued directives to the law enforcers – including police and the Special Task Force – to carry out investigation into the incident and take action against those found involved, reports The Straits Times and Times Online.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

Condemning the cowardly attacks, PM Wickremesinghe said in Twitter: “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.”

Easter Day bomb blasts at three Sri Lankan churches and three luxury hotels today killed 156 people and wounded more than 400, hospital and police officials said, following a lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago, Reuters reported. 

In just one church, St Sebastian's in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official told Reuters, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.

Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.

The three hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Colombo. It was unclear whether there were any casualties in the hotels.

Nine foreigners were among the dead, the officials said.

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.

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