Sri Lanka’s president has given the military sweeping war-time powers to arrest and detain suspects following a series of Easter Sunday bombings that killed at least 290 people.
President Maithripala Sirisena’s office announced late Monday that the measure would take effect at midnight. In addition, a government curfew was to begin at 8 p.m.
On Monday, armed security personnel stood guard on street corners in central Colombo that were largely deserted, with most shops closed.
Provisions that granted police powers to the military had been withdrawn at the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, which ended in 2009.
Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, while another 28 were wounded.
John Amaratunga says his ministry is working closely with the ministry of foreign affairs and local diplomatic missions to “ensure formalities with regard to the victims are sorted out as quickly as possible.”
In Monday’s statement, he added, “The government has already offered assistance to all victims, the damaged places of worship as well as the hotels affected by Sunday’s attacks.”
A total of nine bombings Sunday killed at least 290 people and wounded about 500 more.
At least 30 foreigners were among the dead, from the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Denmark, Spain, Australia, China, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan and Portugal.
The Associated Press