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Sri Lanka looks for Easter attack survivors to help probe

  • Published at 07:31 pm September 5th, 2019
SRI LANKA-EMERGENCY/
Sri Lankan Special Task Force soldiers stand guard in front of a mosque five days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on Catholic churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 26, 2019 Reuters

A total of 293 people remained in custody as investigations continued

Sri Lanka's police Thursday issued an appeal to trace seven people thought to have survived the Easter bombings but who then went missing without speaking to investigators.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said investigators interviewed 81 survivors, but were keen to speak with another seven who left hospital without providing contact details.

"The CID [the Criminal Investigations Department] is very keen to speak with them and we are issuing an appeal to trace these people in connection with the attacks," Gunasekera told reporters in Colombo.

He did not say if they suspect them to have been involved with the April 21 suicide bombers who targeted three churches and three luxury hotels, killing at least 258 people and wounding nearly 500.

Gunasekera said police seized assets worth $34 million from the Islamist extremist suicide bombers and their immediate family.

A total of 293 people remained in custody as investigations continued, he added.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the minister in charge of law and order, has said that all those responsible for the attacks were either killed or under arrest.

A state of emergency declared shortly after the Easter Sunday bombings was relaxed four months later in August.

The mainly Buddhist nation of 21 million people was about to mark a decade since ending a 37-year-long Tamil separatist war when the Islamist extremists struck.

The government has blamed a local jihadi group, the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) while the Islamic State group also claimed responsibility.