At least 200 killed in attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka

By Hector Murcia

At least 200 people have died in a series of simultaneous explosions on three Christian churches, four hotels and a residential complex, in different parts of the country. The churches were crowded with people celebrating one of the great Christian festivals: Resurrection Sunday.

Following the attacks that have not yet been vindicated, the government has declared a state of emergency and blocked social networks, while police imposed a curfew throughout the country, fear of new attacks.

At the same time, Police reported hours after the explosions that have caused more victims, One of the attacks occurred in a small hotel near the zoo in the capital, Colombo, which has left at least two dead, and another explosion by a suicide bomber in a suburb north of the city has left three policemen dead.

According to the information being reported by the authorities, the first explosions occurred almost consecutively between 8:45 and the 9 in the morning, local time, affecting the churches of San Sebastián and San Antonio, located in a suburb of Colombo.

The two temples were completely filled with parishioners celebrating this symbolic day, that ends Easter. A police spokesman told Reuters that only in San Sebastián had died more than fifty attendees.

Another evangelical church suffered the same fate in Batticaloa, in the east of the country -a hundred kilometers away-, which gives an idea of ​​coordination and preparation that has required this series of attacks.

Explosions also rocked three of the best known luxury hotels in Colombo: Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury. All five stars.

Meanwhile, Maithriipala President Sirisena appealed to the population to “keep calm” and warned do not be swayed by “inadequate information and rumors” they can spread social networks “to generate panic”.

Sri Lanka has a small but influential Christian minority representing almost 7% a population marked by the diversity of beliefs, It is including a majority of Buddhist-a 70%-, but also Hindu-a 15%- Muslims and one 11%.

The recent history of this country is full of conflicts between these ethnic and religious groups, although the most recent tension has focused on radical squabbles between Buddhists and Muslims.