At least 45 children killed in Sri Lanka blasts; death toll may rise further: United Nations

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 23, 2019, 03:36 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In security measures, Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency hours after officials blamed local Islamist group for the attacks.

At least 45 children were killed in Sri Lanka serial blasts that ripped through the country on Easter festival, United Nations said on Tuesday.

"The total now is 45 children who died," UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva, stressing that others "are wounded and are now fighting for their lives," meaning the toll among minors from the Sunday attacks could rise.

At least 321 people were killed and about 500 were injured by a string of bombings that tore through churches and luxury hotels on Sunday in Sri Lanka. The attacks are been billed as the worst-ever in the history of the island nation after the civil war that ended almost a decade ago. 

People from at least eight countries were killed in the series of attacks, including five citizens of Britain, at least ten Indian nationals, three Danes, two each from China and Turkey and one each from Netherlands and Portugal.

In security measures, Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency hours after officials blamed local Islamist group for the attacks.

The state of emergency, which gives police and the military special powers to counter militant strikes, came into force at midnight.

Suspects can be detained without any court order under emergency.

Officials are also investigating why more precautions were not taken after an April 11 warning from Sri Lanka's police that a "foreign intelligence agency" had reported the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) planned suicide attacks on churches. 

Meanwhile, Sri Lankans observed three-minute silence today to pay tribute to the victims. National flags were also lowered and people bowed their heads as the silence began at 8:30 am.

The government has declared a full day of national mourning on Tuesday, with flags at all government institutions lowered to half mast, liquor shops ordered shut and radio stations and television channels expected to play sombre music.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App