Sri Lanka says 42 foreigners among Easter victims

Sri Lankan soldiers stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 29, 2019, a week after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan soldiers stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 29, 2019, a week after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan authorities have identified 42 foreign nationals among the 253 people killed in the string of Easter suicide bombings, officials said on Tuesday (April 30).

Another 12 foreigners remain unaccounted for and could be among still unidentified bodies at Colombo's police morgue, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Five wounded foreigners were still in hospital after the April 21 blasts at churches and hotels claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

A ministry statement said the highest number of victims were from India (11) followed by Britain (six), China (four) and Denmark (three).

Saudi Arabia, Spain and Turkey lost two nationals each. Bangladesh, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the United States all lost one national.

There were six other people with more than one nationality.

Previously, the authorities had said that 40 foreign nationals were killed and had not given a breakdown on their nationalities.

 
 
 

"Human remains of 25 foreign nationals have been repatriated by Monday evening," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Additionally, 12 foreign nationals are unaccounted for at present, and could be among the unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer's mortuary."

Identification of those killed at the luxury hotels was difficult because many of the bodies were badly mutilated, health authorities have said.

The government has declared a state of emergency after the devastating blasts and banned two Islamist groups accused of responsibility for the bombings.

Many tourists have left the country after the attacks and there has been a sharp decline in the number of foreigners visiting the island after several countries warned against travel to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry expects a 30 per cent decline in tourist arrivals this year leading to a loss in revenues of about US$1.5 billion (S$2.04 billion).