The Sri Lankan government has implemented additional security measures nationwide from Saturday, May 18, through Monday, May 20, for Vesak Day (Buddha's birthday) celebrations. Additional personnel will be deployed around temples and other sacred places, including another 5000 officers who will be responsible for traffic control. Police officials have also asked individuals not to bring heavy bags, handbags, and purses to places of worship. Associated traffic disruptions are anticipated around all temples and related events.
Security measures have been high throughout the country since a series of coordinated bombings were conducted 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.
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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