05/03/2019, 09.17
SRI LANKA
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Card. Ranjith: Fears of renewed attacks means Masses canceled also this Sunday.

by Melani Manel Perera

The Archbishop of Colombo reports that he has received "reliable information from foreign sources" on the danger of violence.  Next Monday schools will reopen: in the whole country there are more than 10 thousand, the government has placed an agent to guard each one.

Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Archbishop of Colombo, Card.  Malcolm Ranjith,  announced the cancellation of all the masses scheduled for next Sunday, May 5th.  Just two days ago the cardinal had established the resumption of liturgical services in the churches of Sri Lanka, after the serious attacks on Easter Sunday against three churches and three hotels in Colombo.

The cardinal said he received "information from reliable sources abroad" informing him of "possible new attacks on the weekend against a famous Catholic church and a Catholic Institute".  From here, yesterday, the decision to keep churches and even Catholic schools closed "until further news".

For Monday, May 6, the government had decided to resume lessons in public schools.  Across the country there are 10,194, and for each of them the authorities have guarded a security agent.  Akila Kariyawasam, Minister of Education, said: "We have been assured that all schools will be searched and secured to resume the new school period."

Meanwhile, the toll from the massacres carried out while the faithful attended Easter services and crowded the hotel restaurant area, has risen to 257 deaths, from 253.  Of these, at least 40 are foreigners and 50 are children.

The police have arrested more than 150 suspects, but it is still not clear who the principal authors were.  The names and photographs of nine alleged attackers  were released on May 1st.  According to the agents, all the kamikazes were affiliated to the local Islamic group National Thowheed Jamath, the same one that appears in the information published by India before the massacre (and ignored by the intelligence services) and that Colombo continues to consider the actual perpetrator, even if the Islamic State has claimed  the attacks.

Today, Friday of prayer for Muslims, Islamic leaders call on the faithful to return to pray in mosques, while on Friday last week they suggested staying in home.

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