Sri Lanka bans face coverings, tightens security
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/29/19, 10:44 am
An emergency law went into effect in Sri Lanka on Monday banning all forms of face coverings. The law was enacted as a security measure following church attacks on Easter and more bombings over the weekend. President Maithripala Sirisena’s order prevents Muslim women from veiling their faces. Officials continue to hunt for militants linked to the Easter Sunday suicide bombings at churches and hotels that killed 250 people.
In a statement on Sunday, Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for three militants who blew themselves up after a Friday night shootout with police in the eastern party of the country. Officials said some members of the now-banned Towheed Jamaat militant group pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before carrying out the attacks.
On Sunday, Sri Lankan Catholics watched a televised Mass celebrated by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. All Catholic churches were closed for fear of more attacks after local officials and the U.S. Embassy in Colombo warned that more militants armed with explosives remained at large. Ranjith told reporters on Monday that church services would resume next Sunday with some precautions, including shorter Mass times and heightened security. He called on the Sri Lankan government to crack down on the insurgency with more force. “I want to state that we may not be able to keep people under control in the absence of a stronger security program,” he said.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.