The island nation which enjoyed a peaceful atmosphere and living for nearly a decade faced with one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on 21st of April 2019. Unfortunately this incident took place on the Easter Sunday targeting a large number of Catholics, Christians who were attending the Easter Sunday Masses and foreigners who were having the Easter Sunday Breakfast.
According to the Government sources, terrorists who were members of a group known as “National Thawfeek Jamath (NTJ)” an extremist Islamic group is blamed for this. Meanwhile, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks which took place and has released a statement to this effect.
The bomb attacks took place in the following locations.
– St. Sebastian’s Church, Katuwapitiya, Negombo (Western Province)
– St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, Colombo (Western Province)
– Zion Church, Batticaloa ( Eastern Province)
– Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo (Western Pro)
– Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo (Western Pro)
– Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo (Western Pro)
After the incident, the tri-forces and police have carried out island wide raids to bring the suspects to book. As of now, more than 76 suspects have been detained, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt.
Meanwhile, Caritas Sri Lanka and Dioceses staff of Colombo and Batticaloa have been supporting the distressed through numerous means including helping the family members of the victims to identify, make claim and transport the dead bodies to native villages where they come from.
In addition, Caritas Sri Lanka and Caritas Colombo – Seth Sarana in collaboration with the Family Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Colombo is planning to implement a Psychosocial and Pastoral Programme to help the victims of this tragedy. The programme will include conselling, spiritual and social empowerment, livelihood development and legal assistance with the support and coordination of a group of professionals including priests and religious.