Bishop Warnakulasuriya Devrsith Valence Mendis of Chilaw described the suicide bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka as an event of ‘absolute violence’ which was ‘totally unexpected’. Speaking to Aid in the Church in Need (ACN), the Bishop said that there were no major issues in Sri Lanka to expect such an attack, saying that the country was passing through a relatively peaceful time through the past eight years. The Bishop said that while the investigations are still ongoing, the attack on civilians cannot be explained. The interview was aired during Follow Up on RTK 103FM presented by Sylvana Debono on Monday afternoon.
Bishop Mendis said that in Sri Lanka are a relatively small in number, however in Colombo and in that area the number is higher, with Colombo having a greater number of churches. He continued saying that the country is in shock while many are mourning their loved ones who died in the brutal attacks which targeted the civilians celebrating Easter.
Easter services cancelled
The Bishop explained that the series of bombings started around 8.30am local time in the capital of Colombo with an explosion at St Anthony Shrine, the country’s best-known Catholic church. Within 45 minutes, a second Catholic church was hit, St Sebastian and a third bomb went off at the Protestant Zion Church.
The country went on full alert and high security, with subsequent celebrations being cancelled.
‘A crime against humanity’
Bishop Mendis labeled the terrorist strikes as a ‘crime against humanity’ and noted that people of various faiths died in the attacks on the hotels. The Bishop said that their Easter joy was taken away from them and instead it was replaced with a day of mourning. However the Bishop said that he was confident that the Sri Lankan people will face the future with courage and faith.