President Kenyatta condemns Sri Lanka attacks, urges world to unite against terrorism

April 21, 2019 3:50 pm
In his message of condolences to his counterpart President Maithripala Sirisena, the President has termed the attacks as ‘heinous and cowardly, targeting on innocent people who were attending Easter Church Service and others who were celebrating the holiday in hotels/AFP

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21- President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday joined world leaders in condemning the Sri Lanka terror attacks that has left more than 200 people dead and hundreds injured.

In his message of condolences to his counterpart President Maithripala Sirisena, the President has termed the attacks as ‘heinous and cowardly, targeting on innocent people who were attending Easter Church Service and others who were celebrating the holiday in hotels.’

“On behalf of the Government and the people of Kenya and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to convey our deepest condolences and sympathies to you, your esteemed Government, the families of the victims and the people of Sri Lanka,” President Kenyatta said in his message to the President of Sri Lanka.

He committed to support Sri Lanka during these trying times.

The Head of State urged the world to join hands in the fight against terrorism, saying it is a terrible scourge that should be wiped out completely from the face of the world.

A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing more than 160 people, including dozens of foreigners.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks — the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago — as “cowardly”, as the government imposed an immediate and indefinite curfew across the entire country of 21 million people.

The powerful blasts -– six in quick succession and then two more hours later — wrought devastation, including at the capital’s well-known St Anthony’s Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.

At least two of the attacks were confirmed as being carried out by suicide bombers, according to police sources and a hotel official.

Hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens were among the dead, with Britons and Japanese also injured. A Portuguese man also died, the country’s LUSA news agency reported.

An AFP photographer at the scene at St Anthony’s saw bodies lying on the floor, some draped with scarves and clothes.

Much of the church roof was blown out in the explosion, with roof tiles, glass and splintered wood littering the floor along with pools of blood.

At the Shangri-La hotel, an AFP photographer saw extensive damage on the second floor restaurant, with windows blown out and electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.

The injured flooded into local hospitals, where officials reported hundreds of wounded were being admitted.

– Police chief warning –

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blasts, but documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.

“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” the alert said.

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