Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 08:05:28 AM

Sri Lanka orders new curfew after bomb attacks

International Desk |
Update: 2019-04-22 3:35:44 PM
Sri Lanka orders new curfew after bomb attacks

The Sri Lankan government on Monday (April 22) ordered a new night-time curfew as tensions remained high after a series of suicide bomb attacks that left at least 290 dead.

The government information department said the curfew would run from 8:00pm (1430 GMT) on Monday until 4:00am on Tuesday.

An indefinite curfew ordered on Sunday (April 21) after the attacks was  lifted early Monday but a two-day holiday was decreed in a bid to reduce public traffic.

Police have arrested 24 men in connection with bomb blasts, officials said on Monday.

Authorities have not made public details on those held after Sunday's attacks. But a police source said the 24 were detained at two locations in and around Colombo.

There was still no claim of responsibility for the attacks on two churches and four hotels in and around Colombo.

A government source said President Maithripala Sirisena, who was abroad when the attacks happened, had called a meeting of the National Security Council early on Monday. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would attend the meeting, the source said.

The island-wide curfew imposed by the government was lifted early on Monday, although there was uncharacteristically thin traffic in the normally bustling capital.

Soldiers armed with automatic weapons stood guard outside major hotels and the World Trade Center in the business district, where the four hotels were targeted on Easter Sunday, according to a witness.

Scores of people who were stranded overnight at the main airport began making their way home as restrictions were lifted.

The government also blocked access to social media and messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp, making information hard to come by.

Wickremsinghe acknowledged on Sunday that the government had some prior information about possible attacks on churches involving a little-known Islamist group, but said ministers had not been told.

Sri Lankans accounted for the bulk of the 290 people killed and 500 wounded, although government officials said 32 foreigners were also killed.

These included British, U.S., Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Bangladesh and Portuguese nations.

Khaleej Times
BDST: 1530 HRS, APR 22, 2019


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