Following the eight bombings, the State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene announced the government would be imposing an island-wide curfew that will take effect from 6pm. The curfew is expected to be in force till 6am on Monday, a ban on WhatsApp and other social media has also been imposed. The horrific attack targeted eight locations across Sri Lanka including churches and luxury hotels during the early hours of Easter Sunday.
The State Minister addressed the press and said: “First of all on behalf of the government I want to express my deepest sympathies to all the people who have lost their lives and been injured by these explosions.
“As the government, we have taken all the necessary precautions to keep the country safe and the people safe.
“We have been speaking with the secretary of defence with the force commanders and the inspector general of the police.
“We have now decided to impose an island-wide curfew just until things settle down.
“We will take all necessary action against any extremist group that is operating in our country.
“We shall not give any chance for these extremist groups to operate and do what they have been doing for the past few days.
“We will go after them whatever religious extremism they are following.
“We will take the necessary actions against them and we will stop these groups from operating in this country in the near future.”
Three of the hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo and the Cinnamon Grand Colombo. Officials say at least 35 foreign nationals have been killed.
The first six bombs went off at three churches and three hotels, whilst a seventh reportedly went off hours later near the national zoo, which is in an area near the capital.
The eighth reported explosion took place in Dematagoda, a suburb of Colombo.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called the Easter Sunday attacks “truly appalling” in a statement.
Mrs May said: “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.
Religious figures have condemned these attacks while calling for unity of all people and religious freedom.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Those affected by the appalling and despicable attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka will be in the prayers of millions marking Easter Sunday around the world today.
“On this holy day, let us stand with the people of Sri Lanka in prayer, condolence, and solidarity as we reject all violence, all hatred, and all division.”