COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Sunday ordered a nationwide curfew after a string of blasts, mostly in the capital Colombo, left over 160 people dead and nearly 400 people injured.
Besides Colombo, deadly blasts also took place in the Sri Lankan cities of Negombo and Batticaloa on Sunday morning.
According to the news agency ANI, the curfew was ordered by the Sri Lankan Defence Minister.
— ANI (@ANI) April 21, 2019
A curfew has been declared across the country from 6 PM (Sunday) to 6 AM (Monday).
The Presidential Secretary has also announced government holidays on Monday (April 22) and Tuesday (April 23).
Among other measures, the Sri Lankan authorities have imposed a 'temporary' ban on social media after the blasts.
— ANI (@ANI) April 21, 2019
Hours after multiple explosions rocked the Sri Lankan capital, two more blasts on Sunday hit Colombo, the local media reported. While one took place at the Dehiwala region, another took place in Dematagoda region in the national capital. The first suspect has been arrested in Dehiwala area, said reports.
At least two people are feared dead and several injured in the blast that took place in Dehiwala region.
According to onlanka.com, one blast took place at a reception hall near Dehiwala's Zoological Garden. The injured are currently being transferred to hospitals.
The explosions occurred inside three churches and three five-star hotels, ripping the peace that the country has enjoyed after decades of ethnic violence.
A set of explosions occurred in a church in Batticaloa, St. Anthony's church in Kochchikade (Colombo) and St.Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya. A large number of Catholics were in the churches for Easter celebrations. These explosions were followed by a blast on the third floor of Colombo's Shangri La Hotel and in the premises of Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel.
Many world leaders, including PM Narendra Modi, have condemned the blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 160 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners - with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.
PM Modi strongly condemned the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. ''There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured,'' PM said in his message to the govt of Sri Lanka.
British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as "truly appalling".
"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," she tweeted.
"We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear," May tweeted.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, "Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a "horrific terrorist attack".
"To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support -- and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need," he said in a statement.
"At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack."
(With Agency Inputs)