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On the day that Catholics celebrate Easter Sunday, there have been more than eight explosions in hotels and churches in Sri Lanka
Today Sri Lanka is experiencing one of the bloodiest and most regrettable days since the end of the civil war in 2009, a conflict between Buddhists and Hindus. It is about eight attacks that have taken place today, Resurrection Sunday for the Catholic Church. Three churches and three luxury hotels, mostly in Colombo, were attacked for what is suspected to be a single terrorist group with religious motives.
Leer en español: Sri Lanka: una serie de atentados en domingo de resurrección
In the attacked churches, hundreds of faithful celebrated Easter Sunday, so these attacks have left multiple victims. These attacks took place early in the day at the San Antonio de Colombo Church, San Sebastián de Negombo, both in the capital, and in a church in Batticaloa. The hotels are luxury establishments: the Cinnamon Grand, the Kingsbury and the Shangri-La. According to El País, the seventh explosion was detected next to the Dehiwala Zoo and the eighth explosion in a residential area in Dermatagoda.
The prime minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, invited through his twitter account the citizens of Sri Lanka to stay strong and above all not to misinform about the attacks.
I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. 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.— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) 21 de abril de 2019
Balance of victims
As already said, this may be the day that has left more victims since the end of the war in Sri Lanka. According to what was published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and quoted by El País, the death toll is already at least 207 dead, mostly locals celebrating Easter Sunday. Of these 207, approximately 36 would be foreigners: five British, three Indians, two Turks, one Portuguese and one Dutch. There would also be, according to the mentioned means, around 25 bodies without identifying yet.
In addition to the fatalities, 450 wounded are also reported, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera quoted by the New York Times.
The measures that the government takes
So far there are seven detainees linked to the attacks. All are local but, according to El País, they are looking for links with foreign organizations. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but it is suspected that they were all carried out by the same group and for religious reasons. The Minister of Defense of Sri Lanka, Ruwan Wijewardene, has stated that behind the explosions there were suicide bombings.
Ten years ago, the civil war in Sri Lanka ended, which lasted more than two decades and in which the majority of the Buddhists and the Tamil Hindu minority faced each other. During this war, the Tamils developed suicide bombs to carry out attacks, a strategy that would be replicated and copied in other countries of the Middle East. Today religious tensions endure and reach a peak.
Last year, a state of emergency was declared due to confrontations between Buddhists and Muslims and today there is clear tension against the Christian minority on the island. According to figures from El País, 70% of its inhabitants are Buddhists, 12% Hindu, 10% Muslim and 7% Christian. Out of 21 million inhabitants, 1.2 million Catholics are counted.
In the face of today's attacks and according to the New York Times, "Sri Lanka temporarily blocked the most important social networks, as well as messaging services, including Facebook and WhatsApp, to stop the spread of false information, according to Udaya Seneviratne, the secretary of the president ".
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón
Translated from "Sri Lanka: una serie de atentados en domingo de resurrección"