Day after the deadly serial blasts that left over 290 people dead in Sri Lanka, the police is learnt to have found 87 bomb detonators at Colombo’s main bus stand.
Meanwhile, a fresh blast was reported on Monday in a van near a church in Sri Lanka — where scores were killed on Sunday– when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it.
At least 290 people were killed and over 500 others injured in a string of eight powerful blasts, including suicide attacks, which struck three churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Earlier in the day, the Sri Lankan government said that it suspected a local Islamist extremist group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) to be behind the deadly suicide bomb blasts.
Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, who is also a cabinet minister, added that the government was investigating whether the group had “international support.”
Documents seen by AFP show Sri Lanka’s police chief issued a warning on April 11, saying that a “foreign intelligence agency” had reported NTJ was planning attacks on churches and the Indian High Commission.
Following this, the Indian Coast Guard has been placed on high alert along the maritime border to prevent any attempt by those behind the Sri Lanka blasts to enter India, sources in the central government said on Monday.
According to news agency ANI, a number of ships and Dorniers — aircraft used to conduct surveillance — have been deployed to identify suspicious boats along the maritime border.
Police have arrested 24 suspects till now in connection with attacks. However, no group has claimed responsibility for the serial blasts.
Earlier, the Government Analyst’s Department had said that a total of seven suicide bombers carried out the bomb blasts.
The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.
Explosions were also reported from three five-star hotels — the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday announced a nationwide emergency from midnight following the Easter Sunday blasts.
“The government has decided to gazette the clauses related to prevention of terrorism to emergency regulation and gazette it by midnight,” the president’s office said in a statement.
The President also appointed a committee to probe the blasts that killed 290 people in a terror attack which was the worst since the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War 10 years ago.
The curfew will be imposed in Sri Lankan capital Colombo at 8 pm today and will continue till 4 am on Tuesday. A curfew was imposed soon after Sunday’s terror attack which was lifted earlier today.