Sri Lanka is in mourning after 290 innocent lives were taken in bombings at churches and three luxury hotels as people celebrated Easter Sunday on the island nation off the southern coast of India.

Sri Lanka’s popularity as a holiday destination had skyrocketed in recent years after the country’s 26-year long civil war ended in 2009 and the island was deemed safe again to visit.

Indeed, 2018 saw the local tourism sector boom, with 2.1 million guests visiting and Australians flocking in record numbers for its famed wellness, eco, wildlife, surf, food and culture options. Australian visitor numbers to Sri Lanka have grown by 10.7% since 2014.

Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were targeted by suicide bombers during Easter services.

The Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and The Kingsbury Hotel are all located in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo and were also targeted in the attacks.

Here’s what we know.

 

THE CINNAMON GRAND

The Cinnamon Grand, Colombo

The Cinnamon Grand, Colombo

As guests at the 483 room and 18 suite hotel waited in line for the breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday, a Sri Lankan suicide bomber was among them posing as a guest.

The Taprobane restaurant at the hotel was having one of its busiest days of the year for the Easter holiday weekend and full of families enjoying time together.

According to The Telegraph, the man, who had checked in the night before under a false name and address, was just about to be served breakfast before detonating explosives strapped to his body.

A spokesperson from Cinnamon Hotels has said that travellers can continue to check-in at The Cinnamon Grand and that all guest operations have resumed as normal.

 

THE SHANGRI-LA

The Shangri-La Colombo

The Shangri-La Colombo

The 500 room Shangri-La Hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean and is located in the heart of the business district and the capital’s buzzing social scene.

Guests enjoying their buffet breakfast were targeted with its second-floor Table One restaurant completely gutted in the bombing with the ceiling and windows blown out.

The blast was reportedly felt all the way up to the 17th floor where guests were still sleeping.

The hotel host posted on its website how “deeply saddened and shocked” they are by the attacks.

“We will continue to work closely with local authorities and emergency services to provide our fullest assistance and support to all affected parties,” they wrote.
 

THE KINGSBURY

The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo

The five-star Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo is located in-between Galle Face Green, the World Trade Centre, and the Dutch Hospital Precinct and is one of Colombo’s newest hotels.

The 229 room Kingsbury Hotel is described as “a landmark of luxury” in the heart of Colombo.

“On behalf of the entire Kingsbury team we share in the shock, grief and mourning of our entire nation in the aftermath of the recent attack.”

As with the two other hotel blasts, guests were targeted in the breakfast area.

While the Kingsbury Hotel remains open, they have posted on Instagram to inform guests that areas of the hotel had been isolated for further clearance and safety requirements.

While nine foreign tourists are reportedly among the dead, the actual number of fatalities and casualties for all three hotels is still unconfirmed, but what we do know is that victims included staff from the hotel and innocent people of all faiths and beliefs.

 

EDITORS NOTE: We have deliberately not featured any pictures of the bombings or victims nor made any reference to who may have carried out the attacks as KARRYON has a policy and belief not to focus on amplifying the perpetrator’s cause.

Please join us in sending our love and thoughts to all those affected and to the good people of Sri Lanka.