Sri Lankan security authorities have either killed or arrested all the extremists responsible for the Easter suicide bombings that left 257 people dead, police chief Chandana Wickramaratne said Tuesday.
Police have accounted for every individual involved in the April 21 attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels, Wickramaratne said in an audio statement.
“All those who organized and carried out the suicide bomb attack have died or is in our custody,” he said.
“The two bomb experts of the group have been killed. We have seized the explosives they had stored for future attacks.”
Wickramaratne, who was named acting police chief last week after President Maithripala Sirisena suspended his predecessor over his failure to act on warnings about the attacks, said public life was slowly returning to normal with the lifting of curfews imposed after the bombs.
The government reopened public schools on Monday, but attendance dropped to below 10 percent in many places with parents still fearing attacks.
“We have strengthened security for all schools,” the police chief said. “We are also conducting a program to create awareness about safety and security in all schools.”
Wickramaratne did not say how many people were in custody over the bombings, but police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said Monday that 73 people, including nine women, were being held.
The bombings were blamed on a local group, the national Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), but the Islamic State group has also claimed responsibility.
Police said religious tensions have eased at Negombo, a town north of Colombo that suffered the highest death toll in the Easter Sunday attacks. A bomb at St Sebastian’s church in the town killed more than 100 worshippers.
Dozens of Muslim-owned businesses, homes and vehicles in Negombo were damaged in clashes on Sunday night.
The Roman Catholic Church appealed for calm and urged Christians not to carry our revenge attacks against Muslims.
Police said two arrests were made and more suspects had been identified through CCTV footage.
Sri Lanka town under curfew after religious violenceA city near Sri Lanka’s capital was placed under curfew by police Sunday, following clashes between Muslim and Christian mobs two weeks after ... World News
Sri Lanka expels 200 Islamic clerics after Easter attacksSri Lanka has expelled over 600 foreign nationals, including around 200 Islamic clerics, since the Easter suicide bombings blamed on a local extremist ... World News
Deserted beaches and empty rooms: Sri Lanka tourism takes a hit after bombingsSri Lanka’s $4.4 billion tourism industry is reeling from cancellations as travelers shun the sun and sand Indian Ocean island after multiple ... Features