Sri Lanka government imposed nationwide curfew
*COLOMBO – Sri Lanka´s government imposed a nationwide curfew Sunday that police said would go into effect immediately and would last “until further notice”, after a string of deadly blasts.*
Sri Lanka´s defence ministry initially said the curfew would be imposed overnight, but the police subsequently said it would go into effect straight away.
Earlier today, Easter Day bomb blasts at three Sri Lankan churches and three luxury hotels killed at least 185 people and wounded more than 500, hospital and police officials said, following a lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.
More than 50 people were killed in St. Sebastian’s gothic-style Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, a police official told Reuters, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.
Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on an evangelical church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.
The three hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo and the Cinnamon Grand Colombo. It was unclear whether there were any casualties in the hotels.
Nine foreigners were among the dead, the officials said. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in a country which was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009 during which bomb blasts in the capital were common.
Christian groups say they have faced increasing intimidation from some extremist Buddhist monks in recent years. And last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.