Sri Lanka's president is set to give the military sweeping wartime powers a day after a string of bombings at churches and luxury hotels across the country killed 290 people and wounded about 500.
Maithripala Sirisena will declare a nationwide emergency from midnight local time on Monday, his office said. This measure, which will grant police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, was in force at various times during the civil war with Tamil separatists.
"The government has decided to gazette the clauses related to prevention of terrorism to emergency regulation and gazette it by midnight," the president's media unit said in a statement.
It said the measure would be confined to dealing with terrorism and would not impinge on freedom of expression. In addition, a government curfew will begin at 8 p.m. local time.
There was no claim of responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, which targeted churches and hotels in and around the capital Colombo, as well as a church on the nation's northeast coast. But cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said the attacks were carried out by a local militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath — with the help of an international network.
"We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country," Senaratne said. "There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded."
Sri Lanka X
Mon, 2019-04-22 12:16#1
Sri Lanka X