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Sri Lanka News Alert

Sri Lanka: Nightly curfew announced in eastern towns April 27 /update 17

Officials announce indefinite nightly curfew for eastern cities on April 27 following security operation in Ampara district (Eastern province); nationwide heightened security measures expected to continue in coming days

27 Apr 04:39 AM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 4/27/2019, 12:00 AM until 5/4/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Colombo). COUNTRY/REGION Sri Lanka, Colombo, Bandaranaike International Airport, Ampara district
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Event

Heightened security measures continue throughout the country as of Saturday, April 27, as the country responds to the Easter bombings on Sunday, April 21. Authorities confirmed the deaths of 15 people following a security operation on the late evening (local time) of Friday, April 26 in Ampara district (Eastern province). Security forces conducted a raid on a house near Sammanthurai resulting in a gunfight and three explosions inside the house, resulting in the deaths of 15 people. Other raids in the area yielded recovered explosives and other bomb-making materials A nightly curfew was announced on Saturday for the cities of Kalmunai and Sammanthurai from 20:45 to 04:00 until further notice.

Other security measures remain in place nationwide. Access to popular social media platforms and messaging services remain blocked and Catholic and Muslim religious leaders have suspended public services due to fears of further violence. At least 10,000 soldiers have been deployed to conduct security operations and guard places of worship. Access to popular social media and messaging platforms remains blocked and nightly curfews have been in effect since Sunday, April 21; additional curfews are expected to be announced in the coming hours. The US Embassy in Colombo warned citizens to reconsider travel to Sri Lanka and avoid places of worship and large crowds through at least Sunday, April 28, as a precaution. Further security measures and associated disruptions, including checkpoints, road closures, and security operations, are expected in the coming days throughout the country, including at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).

Context

A series of coordinated bombings struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21), killing at least 253 people, including 40 foreign nationals, and wounding approximately 500 others. Churches and prominent hotels in Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa were targeted in the attacks. Authorities blamed a local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath, for the attacks, claiming that the group planned the bombings with assistance from an international terrorist organization. The Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility for the attack via its media arm on April 23. The UK government advised against all but essential travel to the country as of April 25.

Advice

Individuals in Sri Lanka, particularly Colombo and Ampara district, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate heightened security measures and limited telecommunication access, report suspicious behaviors and objects to the police, carry proper identification, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

Travelers flying to or from CMB are advised to anticipate a heightened security presence, delays, and allow at least four hours to pass through security checkpoints.

 

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