Students of Muhammadiyah University participate in a solidarity action in Surabaya, East Java, on Monday for the victims of Sunday's suicide bombing attacks in Sri Lanka. (Antara Photo/Moch Asim)

President Jokowi Condemns Sri Lanka Easter Bombings; All Indonesians in the Country Reportedly Safe


APRIL 22, 2019

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has condemned Sunday's suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, which claimed the lives of nearly 300 people, most of them Christians.

"Indonesia strongly condemns the bomb attacks in several places in Sri Lanka today. On behalf of the people of Indonesia, I also convey our deepest condolences to the government of Sri Lanka and the families of all the victims," the president tweeted on Sunday evening, according to Bey Machmudi, spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat.

Three of the six attacks, which occurred during Easter services on Sunday morning, were on churches – St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade and Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa – while bombs also exploded at the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels in the capital, Colombo.

The Sri Lankan government has confirmed that all the attacks were carried by suicide bombers and blamed local jihadist group, National Thowheed Jamaath, for the violence, the BBC reported.

Another bomb exploded on a street near a church in Colombo on Monday.

Due to security concerns, the State Security Council has imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. local time on Monday until 4 a.m. on Tuesday. Social media access has also been blocked in the country.

At least 24 people have been arrested, while police found explosive devices in several locations, including near Bandaranaike International Airport. Three police officers were killed by explosions in two separate raids in Colombo.

By Monday evening, the death toll had risen to 290, including foreigners, while more than 500 people have been injured.

Sri Lanka is home to about 1.5 million Christians, mostly Catholics. The majority religion is Buddhism, followed by Hinduism (12.6 percent) and Islam (9.7 percent), according to the country's 2012 census.

The Indonesian government said all 374 of its citizens in the South Asian country are safe. One Indonesian was at the Shangri-La Hotel when the explosion occurred.

British newspaper The Sun quoted terror expert Rita Katz as saying that Islamic State supporters "have boasted that the series of attacks were revenge for the New Zealand mosque massacre and the US-backed military campaign in Syria."

Many world leaders and international organizations have condemned the attacks and conveyed their condolences to the people of Sri Lanka.