18 detains in hunt over Sri Lanka bombings
Published: 11:10 AM, 24 April 2019 Updated: 02:06 PM, 24 April 2019
Sri Lankan security forces arrested 18 suspects linked to the country’s deadly Islamist Easter bombings in overnight raids, police said on Wednesday.
“The suspects were held in a search operation carried out by police and security forces using emergency powers introduced since Sunday’s attacks which left more than 359 dead,” said spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera.
“On information, we raided three locations and arrested 17 suspects,” Gunasekera said adding, “Another suspect was arrested at a fourth location.”
Police say they have so far taken 58 people into detention since Sunday.
Gunasekera said the raids were part of security operations to track down any individuals linked to suicide bombing strike against three churches and three hotels which the Islamic State group has claimed.
The Sri Lankan government has blamed a local Islamist group, the ‘National Thowheeth Jama’ath’ (NTJ), for the attacks which left 359 dead and 500 injured.
The security swoop came after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that more Islamist radicals could be on the run and he could not rule out the possibility of further bombings.
“There are a few more people on the run,” Wickremesinghe said. “So we’ve got to apprehend them.”
In addition to arming security forces with powers to detain suspects for up to three months, the authorities have also imposed a night-time curfew since Sunday’s deadly attacks.
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