Death Toll For Sri Lanka Bombings Doubles To 290

The death toll in Sri Lanka following the series of explosions yesterday has doubled, with authorities confirming 290 people have died.

Around 500 people were also injured in the blasts.

Bombers targeted a number of locations across the country's capital city of Colombo, including three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa - which were attacked during Easter services - along with the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels.

The seventh attack hit a hotel in the suburb of Dehiwala in the south of Colombo, while police confirmed the eighth blast was a suicide bomb.

The country's finance minister, Mangala Samaraweera, claimed the bombings were an attempt to drag Sri Lanka back into a civil war.

He called the attacks 'a diabolic attempt to create racial and religious tensions in this country yet again, thereby pulling the country backwards just as we as a country - economically, socially and otherwise - are recovering from the protracted war which destroyed the fabric of our nation for nearly 30 years'.

Sri Lankan police have arrested 24 people in connection to the attacks but it is not yet clear as to who was behind them.

At a press conference yesterday evening, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the focus was on finding the people who committed the atrocities.

He said: "We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the Ministers were kept informed.

"For now the priority is to apprehend the attackers."

Following the shocking atrocities, the world's leaders have come out to offer their support to the country's government and its people.

In a tweet, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time. We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear."

Police have arrested 24 people. Credit: PA
Police have arrested 24 people. Credit: PA

French President Emmanuel Macron said: "We are deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. We firmly condemn these odious acts. We stand by the people of Sri Lanka and our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims on this Easter Sunday."

At the time of the attacks, President Maithripala Sirisena issued a statement calling for people to remain calm, urging them to support the authorities in their investigations.

The statement, which was posted on Facebook, roughly translates as: "The President says that he will expect all the people's support during the explosions in this situation. The President says that he will fulfil the responsibility of all the people in this regard.

"In the country, the people who are in the background of a sad incident are the ones who are saving the peace of the people, and the people who have taken the government action to get the fast investigations in the connection, the president has given their special report."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

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