Over 200 killed in Sri Lankan Christian churches on Easter Sunday
Over 200 people were reported killed and at least 450 injured in bomb blasts that devastated Christian churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, the island nation to the south of India on Easter Sunday. It is the first major terrorist attack in the region since the Mumbai massacre of 2007 and the first on the Indian Ocean island, excluding actions related to civil war.
The government immediately declared a curfew in Colombo and shut down access to internet social media and personal messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp. There has been no indication of when the when the restrictiond may be lifted.
Amid fears that the attacks on three churches and four hotels could lead to sectarian violence between the Hindu majority and Muslims, extremist members of which faith are known to have been responsible for the attacks, police revealed on Sunday there had already been a petrol bomb attack on a mosque in the capital city's northwestern suburb of Puttalum and attacks on several shops and businesses owned by Muslims in the western suburb of Kalutara.
Government security agencies have acknowledged they had “prior information” of imminent attacks on churches being planned by a little known local Islamist group but admitted didn’t do enough to prevent the atrocity.
Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 80 percent are Buddhist or Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census figures. In February and March last year (2018), a series of religious clashes between Sinhalese Buddhists and Muslims in the towns of Ampara and Kandy provided warning that tensions were growing between the two communities as extremist Islamic preachers gained more influence.MORE on Terror