Heightened Risk, Security Measures, and Travel Disruptions Likely in Sri Lanka Amid Series of Bombings

April 23: On the afternoon of 21 April 2019, explosions occurred at a hotel near the Dehiwala Zoo, located in southern Colombo, and along the Mahawila Udyanaya Road in Dematagoda, a suburb located in eastern Colombo. Authorities also discovered an improvised explosive device on a road near Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB/VCBI) in Colombo and placed the airport on lockdown while they destroyed the bomb in a controlled explosion. Operations at the airport continued uninterrupted. 

The attack follows six previous bombings that targeted prominent hotels and churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa earlier on 21 April. Thus far, at least 290 people have been killed and more than 500 injured. In light of the continued attacks, security officials implemented a nationwide curfew time with immediate effect. Reports as of 22 April indicate that the curfew will last until at least 0400 local time on 23 April (2230 UTC on 22 April).

Police sources have stated that the bombings on the afternoon of 21 April appear to have occurred as a result of suspects attempting to escape security forces. Police sources have arrested at least 13 people in connection with the attacks. Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Watania has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, although their claim has not been corroborated.

Disruptions and delays at hospitals, airports, train stations and other major travel hubs are likely due to increased security measures throughout the country. SriLankan Airlines, the national airline service, has advised travellers departing from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (VCBI/CMB) to arrive at the airport four hours ahead of their scheduled flight due to heightened security measures at the airport.

Source: IMG GlobalSecur

Increased security, heightened risk, and likely travel delays at ports.

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