Sri Lanka’s minister of defence, Ruwan Wijewardene has said that Easter Sunday bombings were retaliation for a recent attack against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Fifty people were killed in shooting attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on March 15. A little-known Muslim organisation, National Thawheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), has been linked to the worst attacks on the Indian Ocean nation since its civil war ended a decade ago.
Wijewardene said that along with NTJ, another local group, Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim (JMI) was also believed to be involved in the attacks.
At least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks and a state of emergency has been imposed as authorities aimed to maintain security during investigations into the bombings.
Wijewardene said immediate steps should be taken to ban such organisations and called for all suspects to be apprehended. On Tuesday, Sri Lanka began a national day of mourning with three minutes of silence for the victims. The death toll from the attacks has risen to 321 with about 500 wounded.