Fears are growing that “British citizens were caught up” in eight coordinated terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
At least 138 people have been killed and more than 500 left wounded, after bomb blasts rocked 5-star hotels and churches, on East Sunday.
Ruwan Wijewardane, the Sri Lankan defence minister has said in a statement, “We believe that all the culprits who have been involved in this unfortunate terrorist incident will be taken into custody as soon as possible. They have been identified.”
The British prime minister, Theresa May said the Easter Sunday massacre is “truly appalling” and added, “no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”
James Dauris, The UK’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said, “We understand that some British citizens were caught in the blasts, but we are unable to say how many people are, or might have been, affected.”
Dauris said in a video message, “Earlier today a series of explosions took place in hotels and churches in Colombo, in Negombo and in Batticaloa on Sri Lanka’s east coast.
“The churches were busy with Easter Sunday worshippers, the hotels with local people and foreign visitors.
“Reports suggest that several dozen people have been killed and hundreds injured in these evil and senseless attacks.”
Message from British High Commissioner on incidents in #SriLanka.
If you are a British National in Sri Lanka follow the advice of the local authorities and travel advice, updated here https://t.co/cxgzYCPU49
Our thoughts are with the innocent people who have suffered today pic.twitter.com/txgsv2I3yZ
— UKinSriLanka🇬🇧🇱🇰 (@UKinSriLanka) April 21, 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “I’m appalled by the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka, on Easter Sunday, the most important day in the Christian calendar.
“I stand with the victims, their families, the people of Sri Lanka and Christians around the world. We must defeat this hatred with unity, love and respect.”
Julian Emmanuel and his family, from Surrey, staying at the Cinnamon Grand hotel, when the bomb went off told the BBC, “We were in our room and heard a large explosion. It woke us up. There were ambulances, fire crews, police sirens.
“I came out of the room to see what’s happening, we were ushered downstairs.
“We were told there had been a bomb. Staff said some people were killed. One member of staff told me it was a suicide bomber.”
Dauris added, “If you are affected, or are concerned about someone who you think might be affected, please help us to help you.
“If you are in Sri Lanka please follow the instructions given to you by local authorities and hotel security staff.
“Please follow our travel advice and keep checking for updates.”
Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the “horrifying attacks.”
Adding, “To target those gathered for worship on Easter Sunday is particularly wicked.”