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Sri Lanka blasts: PM Lee condemns 'heinous attacks', MFA says no Singaporean casualties

Sri Lanka blasts: PM Lee condemns 'heinous attacks', MFA says no Singaporean casualties

The aftermath of the blast at St Sebastian's Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo. (Photo: Facebook/sebastianchurch150)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has offered his "deepest condolences" to the victims and families of the deadly blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Sunday (Apr 21).

Eight bomb attacks tore through various locations in Sri Lanka, including hotels and churches in and around the capital city of Colombo. The attacks have been identified as a "terrorist incident" by the Sri Lankan defence minister in a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

In a Facebook post, Mr Lee said he was "horrified" by the attacks.

"Horrified by the heinous attacks on churches and hotels across Sri Lanka today on Easter Sunday," he wrote.

"I offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. Singapore condemns such senseless acts of violence. 

"We stand firmly behind Sri Lanka in its efforts to preserve the hard-wrought peace and stability. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sri Lanka. May they find strength and unity to overcome this adversity together."

Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside the church premises following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on Apr 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Ishara S. Kodikara)

Sri Lankan State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said in a press conference that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), police and military forces were investigating the blasts.

"We believe that all the culprits who have been involved in this unfortunate terrorist incident will be taken into custody as soon as possible," he added.

President Halimah Yacob also took to Facebook to offer her condolences.

“My deepest condolences to the families of the victims and those injured in the terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka while people are observing Easter Sunday,” she wrote.

“An occasion of peace and worship with families and friends have been turned into a carnage. These vile acts of violence by extremists are absolutely shocking and are aimed at creating conflicts and hatred among the communities.”

She added that we must “continue to stay vigilant and united against such acts of terrorism”.

READ: Multiple blasts hit Sri Lanka churches, hotels; at least 150 dead, hundreds injured

READ: Sri Lanka blasts: Police say eighth blast was suicide bomb, killed three

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) confirmed there are currently no reports of Singaporean casualties in the incidents.

"The Singapore Government strongly condemns the heinous acts of violence in Sri Lanka which led to significant loss of civilian lives," said a spokesman. 

"We convey our condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and our wishes for speedy recovery of those injured."

The spokesman added that the ministry has reached out to Singaporeans e-registered in Colombo.

"The Singapore Honorary Consulate-General in Colombo is in close contact with the Sri Lankan authorities and is monitoring the situation closely.

"Singaporeans in Colombo should remain vigilant, follow the advice of the local authorities, stay in touch with their family and friends so that they know you are safe."

An ambulance is seen outside the church premises with gathered people and security personnel following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo on Apr 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Ishara S. Kodikara)

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) also issued a statement condemning the attack.

"We are deeply saddened to see another act of terror on places of worship and on peaceful worshippers," it said.

“Such despicable acts of violence have no place in society, and we stand in solidarity with the affected communities.”

MUIS in their statement also said that Islam "respects the sanctity of religion and human life and calls for the protection of all worshippers and places of worship".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sri Lanka in these difficult and trying times,"it added.

On Monday, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) said in a statement that it was "shocked and deeply saddened".

"We strongly condemn these cruel and unconscionable acts of terror that killed more than 200 people and injured hundreds more," said the NCCS. 

"We pray for the nation of Sri Lanka during this difficult time, that peace, goodwill and solidarity will prevail in that land."

Singaporeans who require consular assistance can contact the Honorary Consulate-General in Colombo at +94 77 00 44 868 or the 24-hour MFA Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/8855.

Source: CNA/ga/ic(mi/hm)


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