Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has signed an order to extend the nationwide state of emergency for an additional month, due to public security concerns following the 21 April attack. The renewed period covers the period beginning Wednesday, May 22, and ends on Saturday, June 22.
The state of emergency authorizes the military to arrest and interrogate individuals suspected of involvement in the attacks without court orders. Authorities have already arrested some 80 people in connection with the coordinated bombings.
Heightened security measures are to be expected over the coming weeks.
A series of coordinated bombings struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21), killing at least 258 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.
On May 13, three weeks after the attacks, anti-Muslim violence broke out in North Western province in a backlash against the attacks. At least one Muslim person was killed and hundreds of Muslim-owned shops and homes were destroyed. Several mosques were also vandalised.
Individuals in Sri Lanka are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate heightened security measures, including roadblocks, checkpoints, and increased deployment of security personnel, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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