Colombo: Forty suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks which shook Sri Lanka and killed over 300 people, as the government declared a state of emergency, a police official said on Tuesday.
The Sri Lankan police made 16 more arrests during the past 24 hours, taking the total number of arrested suspects to 40, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
"26 of them are with the CID, three are being held by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID). Nine of them have been already remanded and two are being held at a Colombo south police station," Gunasekera said.
A string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 321 people and injuring more than 500 others, shattering a decade of peace in the country following the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.
The bombs tore through three five-star hotels in Colombo: the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri La and the Kingsbury. At least 38 foreigners, including 10 Indian nationals, have died in the attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Sri Lankan government last night brought back emergency regulations that would grant the security forces sweeping powers to detain and interrogate suspects without obtaining warrants.
A gazette notification has been issued by President's Secretary Udaya Senaviratne upon the directives of President Maithripala Sirisena declaring a state of emergency within the country from April 22 onwards.
According to the gazette, the President had taken the measures in the interest of public security, to preserve public order and maintain supplies and essential services to the life of the people.