Nearly 300 arrested in connection with Easter attacks in Lanka
Colombo: Nearly 300 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly Easter Sunday attacks by the Islamist extremists that killed 258 people, Sri Lankan police said on Thursday.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many high-end hotels, killing 258 people in the country's deadliest violence since the brutal civil war ended in 2009.
The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ) for the bombings.
The police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said, 293 suspects have been arrested so far. Some 115 of them are in remand custody while 178 are being held under detention orders served on them.
A state of emergency was clamped in the country to help the authorities with investigations. The laws helped arrests and searches without warrants. However after four months of operations the law came to be lifted on August 22.
The police assured that investigations would be carried forward with no hindrance despite the lifting of emergency laws.
The attacks left the island's tourism sector devastated. Tour operators cancelled advance bookings due to security fears and the government was forced to offer many concessions for its revival.
Politically too the attacks caused a stir and led to the sacking of the then police chief and the then top bureaucrat at the defense ministry who were charged with negligence as they had failed to prevent attacks despite prior intelligence.