The bombings in Sri Lanka two years later

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Debbie Second from right(Photo: Open Doors International)

Two years ago, on April 21st, Christians in Sri Lanka celebrated Easter Sunday when the country was rocked by some of the deadliest attacks on Christian targets in years. Official sources reported 267 deaths, with at least 500 people injured.

The first six explosions by Islamist suicide bombers occurred at St. Anthony & # 39; s Church in Colombo, St. Sebastian & # 39; s Church in Negombo, Zion Church in Batticaloa and three luxury hotels.

In the attack on Zion Church, Debbie, a local girl, lost both her parents and her eyesight. Rebekah, Debbie's aunt, suffered severe burns all over her body and had to undergo numerous operations. Open Doors' local partners recently visited Debbie and her family.

Two years later, Rebekah is still being treated for her burns.(Photo: Open Doors International)

When the team first met Debbie shortly after the attack, she couldn't walk properly as she was still recovering from her injuries and had to rely on her aunts and grandparents to get her around the house. Two years later, Debbie is now able to get around the house on her own. She even built a paper boat for the team to see.

Rebekah was in the church bookstore with Debbie's mother when the blast destroyed the building. She is waiting for more operations that have been postponed due to the coronavirus situation in the country. Because of her burns, Rebekah still can't move the fingers on her left hand.

"Doctors said my fingers weren't going to work as well as they used to, but I'll be able to move them a little more after the operation than I do now," she said. Her injuries have long been confined to her home.

The local partners of Open Doors looked after the victims of the Easter bombs through pastoral visits, delivered care packages and provided practical support, e.g. B. Replaced motorcycles destroyed in the attack and helped those whose livelihoods were affected get back to business or start new ones.

The investigation into the Easter bombs has led to accusations among the Sri Lankan authorities. The President's Commission of Inquiry (PCOI) set up to investigate the attacks closed the investigation and presented its final report to then-President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, in February. The report condemned the State Intelligence Service and its former head, Nilantha Jayawardena, for failing to prevent the bombings. The President appointed another committee to examine the facts and recommendations of the report.

However, Mr Jayawardena testified before the commission that he informed the President when he received news of a possible attack. Some members of the opposition called for the arrest of Maithripala Sirisena, who was also the Minister for Public Security at the time of the attack as president.

Many people have criticized the PCOI report, saying that it was focused more on figuring out how the attacks could have been prevented than on who was responsible for them, and that the authorities have yet to take action.

Julia Bicknell, who is following the case and analyzing the Open Doors World Watch List, says: "After the bombs, it quickly emerged that communications between the President and the Prime Minister's Office had broken down due to political disputes – which meant the Prime Minister knew no credible warnings.

"The publication of this report has been delayed several times and another committee has now been formed. In the meantime, the families of the victims continue to seek justice and healing."

Open Doors UK & Ireland is a Christian charity that supports persecuted Christians around the world. They work with local partners to distribute Bibles and other Christian resources and to provide support and professional training to affected communities.

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