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Sri Lanka wakes to emergency law after Easter bombing attacks

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Sri Lankans woke to emergency law on Tuesday (April 23) as authorities searched for those behind suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 290 people over the weekend, with the focus turning to militants with links to foreign groups.

No group has yet to claim responsibility for Easter Sunday’s attacks on three churches and four luxury hotels that also wounded about 500 people.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the number of people arrested since Sunday had risen from 24 to 40. They are mainly Sri Lankans, although Gunasekera said police were investigating whether foreigners were involved in the attacks carried out by seven suicide bombers.

The president’s office declared that emergency law would come into effect from midnight, giving police extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders. An overnight curfew was also put into effect.

The declaration came after nerves were frayed even further in the seaside capital Colombo when explosives went off on Monday near one of the churches hit in Sunday’s attacks while bomb squad officers were working to defuse a device.

The attacks brought a shattering end to a relative calm that had existed in the Indian Ocean island since a bitter civil war fought by Tamil separatists ended 10 years ago and raised fears of a return to sectarian violence.

Based on Reuters

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