President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed condolences to the government of Sri Lanka following a series of deadly terrorist bombings over the Easter weekend which left 321 dead, of which 45 were children.
The wave of suicide bomb attacks on churches and hotels started Sunday morning as explosions were reported from St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade in capital Colombo and another from St. Sebastians Church in Negombo on the outskirts of the capital.
A third explosion was reported from Zion Church in Batticaloa in the east.
Explosions were also reported from three star-class hotels in Colombo while on Sunday afternoon, an explosion was reported from a hotel, opposite the zoo in Dehiwala in Colombo and another from a housing complex in Dematagoda, Colombo.
With the death toll at 321 and the number of injured at more than 500, President Ramaphosa has wished those injured a speedy and full recovery.
The President reiterated South Africa’s commitment to join hands in ending terrorist attacks.
“South Africa will continue to use its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council to prioritise the fight against terrorism and extremist groups across the world,” President Ramaphosa said on Monday.
Sri Lankans observed a three-minute silence this morning after President Maithripala Sirisena declared a state of emergency.
The local government initially said it believes that National Towheed Jamaat was responsible for the attacks and were investigating whether they had foreign links.
According to the latest report from Reuters the attacks are now being claimed by Islamic State.
Sri Lanka’s security forces have launched massive search operations to arrest all those involved. The police said so far 24 suspects had been arrested.
At least 45 children were killed in the coordinated blasts on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, the U.N. Children’s Fund said on Tuesday (April 23) in Geneva, warning that the toll could rise.
Most of the dead and wounded were Sri Lankans, although government officials said 38 foreigners were killed. That included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.
Boulierac said UNICEF will start providing help and psychological support next week to children who lost their parents or got separated from them in the explosions, or who the witnessed the devastating bombings.
Sources include Reuters and SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua