A ninth explosion went off in Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on Monday, just a day after 290 people were killed in a deadly terror attack. The explosion occurred near the Colombo church that was bombed on Easter Sunday while a police squad was trying to diffuse a bomb.
“The van exploded when the bomb defusing unit of the STF (Special Task Force) and air force tried to diffuse the bomb,” a witness told news agency Reuters.
Just a day ago, Sri Lanka faced its worst terror attack in a decade after the end of its civil war in 2009.
A series of eight bombs ripped through several locations in the island nations. Three five-star hotels and three churches were the key targets, while two other bombs were triggered by suicide bombers after police raided a house for interrogating probable suspects.
The situation has taken an alarming turn on Monday, with over 290 reported dead in the bombings. Out of the 290, at least eight have been confirmed as Indians.
Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry has confirmed the death of one more individual – H Shivakumar – in the blasts yesterday, taking the total number of Indian deaths in the tragedy to 8 till now.@SushmaSwaraj
India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) April 22, 2019
Earlier, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, however, confirmed moments ago that two more Indians died in yesterday’s bombing.
We regret to confirm the deaths of two more individuals in the blasts yesterday:
– Vemurai Tulsiram
– S R Nagaraj@SushmaSwaraj
India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) April 22, 2019
The Easter Sunday bombings have left the island nation in despair as police continue its drill to solve the case quickly.
Fresh reports coming in indicate that 87 detonators have been found at a bus station just moments ago after a bomb was defused last night near the airport. Sunday’s bombings were carried out with the help of an international network, said the Sri Lankan government a day after the horrid episode.
Quoting a spokesperson, news agency Reuters reported moments ago that the Sri Lankan police has found 87 bomb detonators in Colombo’s main bus station, the Bastian Mawatha Private bus stand.
Emergency declared in Sri Lanka
The news has spread like wildfire and it seems the Sri Lankan government has already declared a state of emergency in order to prevent more chaos. Authorities in Sri Lanka have reportedly ordered a state of emergency to be imposed from Monday midnight in order to prevent any escalation.
The state government told local media outlets that the fresh steps are being taken in the interest of public safety. An intense operation seems to be on the cards for the Sri Lankan forces while world leader including Donald Trump and Narendra Modi have extended hand of support.
Several reports on local websites suggest that the Sri Lankan government has blamed National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a little-known radical Islamist organisation, for the bombings.
It also came to light late on Sunday that the Sri Lankan forces were alerted at least 10 days before Sunday’s deadly attack. While the intelligence department said they had already informed the government, the latter claimed that no information reached it.
How the attack unfolded on Sunday
A senior investigator said there were seven suicide bombers involved yesterday, leading to the untimely death of 290 people; over 500 people are still fighting for their lives in hospitals across the island nation.
Bombers attacked three churches in Colombo, Negombo and a town close to the capital. Three hotels were also attackedShangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury.
While two of the bombers blew themselves up at the Shangri-La Hotel, the others targeted the three churches and two other hotels.
Meanwhile, it was also informed that a fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of Colombo were also targeted.
Police have asked citizens and tourists to proceed with extreme caution and advised them to not step out of the house as the situation remains hostile, even more with the discovery of the bomb detonators.
Detailing the gruesome account, an employee of Kingsbury Hotel said that guests who had come for morning Easter breakfast were lying lifeless on the floor with blood all over.
The country’s economic reforms minister, Harsha de Silva, said that the explosion at Negombo’s St Sebastian’s Church had claimed the life of 102 people, including children.
Sri Lanka to seek foreign assistance
Sri Lankan President Maithipala Sirisena said he will seek foreign assistance in the wake of the deadly bombings.
“The intelligence reports [indicate] that foreign terrorist organisations are behind the local terrorists. Therefore, the president is to seek the assistance of the foreign countries, a statement from his office read.
Meanwhile, the government is also trying to extend full support to bereaved families. It has already declared compensation for victims’ families. The government is expected to pay 10 lakh Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) to each victim and an additional sum for the funeral process. The injured will also be compensated by the government.
Despite the support, the island nation is currently in a state of shock and anxiety as many of the relatives of the deceased victims could be seen weeping profusely in pictures that have emerged from the blast sites.