Daniel Halliday
Apr 22 · Last update 10 days ago.
What is the significance of the devastating terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka has had a long bloody history, besieged by 26 years of civil war that ended in 2009. But it has since enjoyed a period of relative stability until the sudden wave of terror attacks carried out in Churches and hotels across the country on Easter Sunday. What was behind these shocking attacks, why are they so significant and what are the likely repercussions? Picture: St Sebastian’s Church bombed at 8:45 am 21st April 2019
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May spark renewed sectarian violence
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Demonstrates the government’s security failings
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May spark renewed sectarian violence

The National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) group, a Sri Lankan based Islamist group seem to be responsible for this attack and have links with Islamic State following a video release claiming responsibility for the attack, showing the NTJ bombers stating they were fighters of Islamic State. This seems to be something new to Sri Lanka, a state with a tragic history of ethno-nationalist terrorism with the Tamil-Tigers, but this is somewhat disconnected from previous inter-religious tensions which were often small scale and localised attacks, not large, planned and widespread attacks of this nature. Previous ethno-religious tensions were between Hindu minority of the north and the Buddhist majority government, but following this surprise attack tensions are beginning to spill out from Sri Lanka’s Far-Right Buddhist groups such as the “Buddhist Power Force” (or Bodu Bala Sena) as they targeted Muslim communities in retaliatory attacks.

edition.cnn.com/2019/04/23/asia/sri-lanka-investigation-ntj-intl/index.html news.yahoo.com/sri-lanka-soldiers-patrol-areas-hit-anti-muslim-092446004.html

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Demonstrates the government’s security failings

Such a large scale series of attacks in Sri Lanka outline the failing of the government in regard to the relaxation of security within the country, especially considering the fact that intelligence officials had received information about a possible attack but not informed the government. This seems especially significant considering the upcoming presidential elections, being just six months away, but also potentially worrying considering Sri Lanka's recent political history of the president ousting the prime minister and installing the controversial ex-president. Likewise considering the government’s worrying legacy of utilising very strong emergency powers and counter terrorism legislation to target not just criminal groups but political voices that question the state, this may lead to government infringements on civil liberties or destabilisation in the country.

theguardian.com/world/live/2019/apr/21/sri-lanka-explosions-dozens-killed-and-hundreds-injured-in-church-and-hotel-blasts latimes.com/world/la-fg-sri-lanka-explosions-20190420-story.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fworld+%28L.A.+Times+-+World+News%29

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