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Sri Lanka declares emergency from midnight

The measures would target terrorism but not limit the freedom of expression
Relatives on Monday weep near the coffin with the remains of 12-year-old Sneha Savindi, who was a victim of the Easter bombings at St Sebastian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka

PTI   |   Colombo   |   Published 22.04.19, 11:28 AM

Sri Lanka will impose a state of emergency from midnight on Monday in the wake of the deadly Easter blasts that killed 290 people and wounded more than 500 others, enhancing the counter-terrorism powers of the security forces.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by president Maithripala Sirisena.

The NSC has announced plans to impose a “conditional state of emergency” from midnight, said a statement from the president’s media unit.

It said the measures would target terrorism but not limit the freedom of expression.

“These will be limited to counter terrorism regulations. This is being done to allow the police and the three forces to ensure public security,” the statement said.

Emergency regulations would give police sweeping powers to deal with situations of breaches of security.

The government also declared Tuesday as a national day of mourning.

According to the statement, Sirisena will seek international assistance to combat terrorism in the island nation.

The intelligence unit has pointed out the support of international terror groups for the local terrorists suspected of plotting the deadly Easter blasts.

“The international assistance would be sought to combat them,” the statement said.

Bomb detonators

As many as 87 bomb detonators have been found at a bus station in Colombo, police said.

The bomb detonators were found at the Central Colombo bus station in Pettah area.

The police initially found 12 bomb detonators scattered on the ground. A further search revealed 75 more, a police statement said. 

Fresh blast

An explosion went off in a van near a church in Sri Lanka where scores were killed the previous day, when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it, Reuters quoting a witness reported.

'The van exploded when the bomb defusing unit of the STF (special task force) and air force tried to diffuse the bomb,' the witness said.

 The spokesperson for security forces was not immediately available for comment. 

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