Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka, has blamed the country’s authorities for the security lapse he claims could have prevented Easter bombings, in which the death toll surpassed 300.
“We placed our hands on our heads when we came to know that these deaths could have been avoided. Why this was not prevented?” Cardinal Ranjith told reporters. “The government should hold an impartial for inquiry and find out who is responsible for these attacks.”
The cardinal travelled to the fishing village of Negombo, where more than 1,000 people gathered to mourn the dead in a service he led. The cardinal said at least 110 people were killed at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo.
“The security forces have not cleared the situation yet…there could be more attacks on public gatherings,” he told reporters. “I urge priests to not conduct any services at churches until I notify.”
Sri Lanka Police Chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued a warning about the organisation carrying out suicide bombings of prominent churches 10 days before the attacks, reported Agence-France Presse. It was unclear what action security forces had taken ahead of Easter in response.
Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed he and other top government officials were not told and has said “we must look into why adequate precautions were not taken.”
Picture: Officials look over the damaged St Sebastian Catholic Church on 22nd April 2019, following a bomb blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka. (CNS photo/Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters).