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Sri Lanka extends emergency by a month

Sirisena cites ‘public security’ as reason

May 22, 2019 10:12 pm | Updated 10:12 pm IST - Colombo

Sri Lanka’s President extended on Wednesday by a further month the state of emergency imposed immediately after the Easter Sunday Islamist bombings that killed 258 people.

Maithripala Sirisena issued a proclamation saying that the emergency, which gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects for long periods of time, would continue for another 30 days, citing “public security”.

Sri Lanka initially imposed the emergency to crack down on local jihadists blamed for the April 21 bombings that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels. Three weeks after the suicide bombings, anti-Muslim riots broke out in a Province north of the capital in a backlash against the attacks. At least one Muslim man was killed and hundreds of Muslim-owned shops and homes were destroyed. Several mosques were also vandalised.

Suspects arrested

The police and the military say they have arrested scores of suspects, both in connection with the bombings and over what appeared to be organised violence against the Muslim minority.

The authorities say they have neutralised the jihadist threat after arresting almost all those involved in the Easter attacks, but troops and police remain on alert across the island.

Christians make up 7.6 percent and Muslims 10 percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka.

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