Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A relative pays his respect at a graveyard for St. Sebastian's Church bombing victims, in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on April 21, 2020.

LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images

Sri Lankans commemorated the anniversary of last year’s Islamic State group-inspired Easter Sunday bomb attacks mainly from their homes on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 260 people were killed when three churches – two Catholic and one Protestant – came under simultaneous suicide bomb attacks during Easter celebrations on April 21, 2019. Three tourist hotels were also targeted, killing 42 foreigners from 14 countries.

Public memorials organized to mark the anniversary were cancelled amid a rise in coronavirus patients. Instead, church pastors were asked to ring bells and two minutes of silence were observed at 8:45 a.m., the time of the bombings.

Story continues below advertisement

Investigators concluded that two Muslim groups inspired by the Islamic State group were responsible for the attacks. The government of then President Maithripala Sirisena was blamed for ignoring near-specific intelligence received before the bombings.

“We are grateful to those friendly nations that generously shared the intelligence information prior to the attack on several occasions, which our political leaders unfortunately did not take seriously,” said Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital.

“We honour specially all those who lost their lives, those who were seriously injured and all those who lost loved ones,” he said.

The UN office in Sri Lanka stressed the need to relentlessly fight terrorism.

“Terrorism should not be associated with any religion, ethnicity or race,” it said in a statement. “The purpose of terrorism is to inoculate societies with the virus of fear. Fear of the other, fear of differences, fear of dissenting opinions or different accents or clothing.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that “We stand in solidarity with the survivors of this brutality, and pray for their healing.”

The police chief and the secretary to the defence ministry at the time of the attacks are facing legal action over their alleged negligence.

Story continues below advertisement

More than 100 suspects with alleged links to the masterminds of the attacks have been detained by police.

Police earlier this month arrested the brother of a former Cabinet minister and a lawyer for alleged links to the suicide bombers.

The government partially lifted a month-long curfew on Monday, with the top health official declaring that the coronavirus is “under control.” The Indian Ocean island nation had been under a 24-hour curfew since March 20. The curfew will remain in effect from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. until further notice. Sri Lanka has 310 confirmed cases of the virus, including seven deaths.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies