Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches have suspended all public services because of security fears, as several suspects remain unaccounted for over the Easter terror attacks. Source: Daily Mail.
“On the advice of the security forces we are keeping all churches closed,” a senior priest said.
Private services for burials will still be carried out, but no public Masses are scheduled until further notice.
Police have so far arrested 75 people over the attacks which killed 359 people, as the government faced pressure over its failure to act on intelligence warnings about possible bombings.
Sri Lanka’s police chief warned on April 11 that suicide bombings against “prominent churches” by the local Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath were possible, citing information from a foreign intelligence agency.
CNN reported that Indian intelligence services had passed on “unusually specific” information in the weeks before the attacks, some of it from an IS suspect in their custody. But that information was not shared with the prime minister or other top ministers, the government has said.
“It was a major lapse in the sharing of information,” deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene conceded at a press conference on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Colombo said the officials who failed to act on tips that terrorist attacks were imminent should be fired, CNA reports.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable behaviour on the part of these high officials of the government, including some of the ministry officials,” Cardinal Malcom Ranjith said Tuesday.
“These kind of officials should be immediately sacked, removed from these positions. And human beings who have a feeling for the needs of others and for the people must be inserted into these positions,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
He added that if he had been warned that churches could be bombed on Easter Sunday, he would have cancelled Sunday Masses, “because, for me, the most important thing is human life. Human beings, they are our treasure”.
“I would have cancelled even the Holy Week itself,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
Sri Lanka terror attack: all Catholic church services suspended (The Australian)