A week after Easter Bombings, Churches fall silent, Sri Lankans hear mass on TV
Colombo, Apr 28: A week after eight serial suicide attacks rocked three cites of Sri Lanka, including its capital Colombo, Christians in Sri Lanka are observing Mass in their homes since all churches are shut in the country.
According to a report, the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, delivered a homily mass after cancelling all public services amid fears of a repeat of the bombings that killed 253 people.
A heavily-guarded vigil was held outside St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo at 8.45am, the moment the bomber struck the church last week, killing dozens of worshippers.
In a rare show of unity, President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa attended the Mass.
Police, meanwhile, announced the arrests of two of five people wanted in connection with the attacks after their pictures were distributed publicly.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said the two, Mohamed Ivuhayim Shahid Abdul Haq and Mohamed Ivuhayim Sadiq Abdul Haq, were arrested in Nawalapitiya, 125 kilometers (77 miles) east of Colombo. The three women remain at large. Police did not elaborate on what roles they may have played.
The Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings, said the three men who blew themselves up at Kalmunai were also members of the militant group.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday apologized to the nation for the failure to protect victims from Sunday's explosions which killed 253 people and injured over 500.
Sri Lanka is majority Buddhist but has significant Hindu and Muslim populations. About 7% are Christian, and most are Roman Catholic.