Sri Lanka: 290 Dead and 500 Injured
Sri Lankan Beach: A Hotspot for Tourism These Days.
Sri Lanka is better known these days, for its tourism than for bomb attacks. Gone are the days of the decades-long war, where the Hindu Tamil Tigers, in the north of the country, fought a bitter war for independence, against the Buddhist dominated government in Colombo.
The war ravaged the nation and all sides suffered, however, the government finally overcame the rebels in the north of the island, winning the war, conquering Tamil territory in the north.
Today, the island nation formerly known as Ceylon has enjoyed a good spell of peace, with fabulous beaches (pictured above), ancient sites and top quality hotels, all attracting tourists from all over the world.
However, all this changed the other day, over Easter, when churches and hotels, were attacked by suicide bombers. The Sri Lankan churches, mostly Catholic, suffered the most injured and dead, so far, we know there are some 290 dead and 500 injured in the church attacks.
Most of the victims of the hotel attacks appear to be foreign nationals, according to the government, there are 11 dead and many missing. In one hotel, one suicide bomber pretended to line up for breakfast, before detonating his explosive vest.
The government had a prior warning that an attack was imminent. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, appeared on television, saying, he was investigating as to why Sri Lankan intelligence and security forces had not done more, to protect the churches and hotels concerned.
Security at Colombo Airport has been beefed up in the aftermath of the attacks, as it has been, at churches and hotels.
The suspected Muslim militant group behind the attacks, are Sri Lankan group, 'National Throwheed Jamaath'. Although Sri Lankan based, they are suspected to have links with Islamic State or indeed even, Al-Qaeda.
The attacks on the churches were deliberate acts to get the maximum carnage when Christians would be attending Easter services. Are these attacks in response to the attack on mosques in New Zealand, that could possibly be a motive or to disrupt the valuable tourism industry? Certainly, the targetting of hotels where many western tourists stay could be looked on as an anti-Christian/Westerner event.
'National Throwheed Jamaath' or NFL, have also attacked Buddhist shrines, defacing statues, which recalls the blowing up of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, by the Taliban. 24 people have been arrested in the aftermath of the attacks and if guilty, these people will quickly be brought to court, as the Sri Lankan government, will want to show, it's justice system is stern on terrorism, with the world looking on.
Sri Lanka, like other places in Asia, has seen its fair share of inter-religious violence. Certainly, now, some of the Christian community may be looking for revenge and will certainly want the government to protect them and their places of worship.
How this will affect the tourist industry, has yet to be seen.
National Throwheed Jamaath in League with Islamic State.
Sri Lankan Attacks: What Now?
National Throwheed Jamaath is in league with Islamic State, it would appear. Sri Lankan Islamic militants, travelled to Iraq and Syria, to fight for Islamic State. NFL, have now become the Sri Lankan chapter, of Islamic State.
They are known for damaging Buddhist statues and their secretary, Abdul Razik, is wanted for inciting racism, in 2016.
The group or rather IS has allegedly said, the attacks are in response to the mosque attacks, in New Zealand.
The attacks launched on churches and hotels are the worst since the ending of Sri Lanka's civil war, in 2009. As stated above, it is likely local Christians, will want to take the law into their own hands and act against Muslims. The government will want to do it all it can to reassure Christians they are safe and protect them, to stop any Christian retaliation.
The government will now take steps to show Sri Lanka is a safe country to visit for tourists.
Christian leaders including the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury, have condemned the attacks. NFL, according to an Asian security expert, have experienced and well-trained commanders, making them very dangerous indeed.
Statue of Jesus, in one church, is spattered in the blood of victims, of the carnage.
Curfews are now operating throughout Sri Lanka and social media sites, are now temporarily blocked. The nation will now have to come down hard on the Islamic militants in its midst. The government, however, may have to tread, carefully, not wishing to incite violence from innocent Muslims, who may be caught up, in its crackdown on NFL.