The Government of Canada has updated its travel advisories for Sri Lanka after numerous terror attacks devastated the country on Easter Sunday. In the wake of the Sri Lanka attacks, a travel warning has been issued to advise Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution in Sri Lanka due to the country's current security situation. The advisory has been updated to warn travellers of the current state of safety and security in the country.
"The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad" the alert cautions Canadians.
Yesterday, a coordinated series of attacks ravaged Sri Lankan churches and hotels, killing 290 people and injuring at least 500 others. The bombings targeted tourism hotspots and churches, in an attempt to "gain maximum global attention", says CNN.
According to CNN, multiple warnings were received by the Sri Lankan government days before the attacks occurred, but despite the urgency of the warnings, the government admittedly failed to act.
An international terror group called National Thawahid Jaman (NTI), a local Islamist group which has been known to deface Buddhist statues, may be behind the attacks, says CNN.
The country's health minister believes the terrorist organization likely did not act alone. He commented to CNN, "There must be a wider international network behind it."
Sri Lankan authorities discovered 87 detonators in a private terminal of the biggest bus station in Sri Lanka's capital city of Colombo. Last night, a ninth improvised explosive device was found and defused close to the city's international airport. On Monday, police discovered another three bombs inside a van parked near a Sri Lankan church. The bombs detonated as police tried to defuse them, but thankfully no injuries were reported.
Sri Lanka's Health Minister, Rajitha Senaratne, told reporters at a press conference, "We saw the warnings and we saw the details given. We are very very sorry, as a government we have to say -- we have to apologize to the families and the institutions about this incident."
So far, police have detained 24 people in connection with the suicide attacks, which are regarded as the worst violence the country has witnessed since the end of its civil war a decade ago. The nation is currently under a state of emergency, and authorities have informed the media that Tuesday will be a national day of mourning for the country.
The majority of those who were harmed in the attacks were Sri Lankan nationals. However, eight British citizens, three Indians, two Australians, two Chinese, one person from the Netherlands, two Turkish citizens, and one Portuguese national reportedly perished in the bombings.