Monday 19 August 2019 ,
Latest News
224 killed, 866 hurt in road crashes in 12 days: Jatri Kalyan Samity | 86pc dengue patient returned home after treatment | 6 of a family among 8 killed in Cumilla road crash | Kolkata road crash victims’ bodies brought back home | I want to be a team man rather than individual: Mahmudullah |
22 April, 2019 12:43:33 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 April, 2019 06:35:01 PM

Print

Family's near miss at bombed Sri Lanka church

Independent Online Desk/ AFP
Family's near miss at bombed Sri Lanka church
A woman injured in the St Sebastian Church blast is taken to hospital. Photo: AFP

When Dilip Fernando arrived at St Sebastian's church in Sri Lanka's Negombo on Easter Sunday, it was so crowded he went elsewhere for mass. The decision probably saved his life.

Shortly after he left, a massive bomb ripped through the church as worshippers observed the Christian holiday.

Dozens died there on a day of carnage across Sri Lanka that saw at least 290 people killed in eight blasts.

On Monday morning, Fernando returned to the church in the seaside town of Negombo to see the damage at the site where he and his family narrowly escaped death.

"I usually come to services here," the 66-year-old retiree told AFP, as around three dozen security personnel stood outside the church.

"Yesterday me and my wife arrived at 7:30 am but it was so crowded there was no place for me. I didn't want to stand so I left and went to another church."

But seven of Fernando's extended family including in-laws and his two granddaughters decided to stay, sitting outside because the church was so crowded.

And it was there that they saw a man they believe was the suicide bomber behind the deadly explosion.

"At the end of the mass they saw one young man go into the church in with a heavy bag," Fernando said.

"He touched my granddaughter's head on the way past. It was the bomber."

- 'I'm so lucky' -

The family wondered why he was entering the church with a mass nearly over, Fernando said, adding that the man had looked to be around 30 and "very young and innocent", according to his relatives.

"He was not excited or afraid. He was so calm."

Shortly after the man entered the church, there was a massive blast.

"They heard it and quickly ran away, they were so afraid. They called me immediately to ask if I was inside the church, but by then I was in a different church."

He said no one in his family had been killed or injured, but that the community had been devastated by the attack.

"I'm so lucky because normally I would go to this church. We are relieved, we were so lucky but we're really sad for the whole village," he said.

"There are going to be huge funerals in this village soon."

But he added that Sri Lanka's Roman Catholic community, a minority that makes up just six per cent of the population, would not be intimidated.

"If the church was open this morning then I would have gone inside. We are not afraid. We won't let terrorists win, no way."

- 'Revenge is useless' -

And he said that he hoped the attack would not trigger revenge killings.

"Revenge is useless. It's the responsibility of the government to control this, not us."

He criticised the government, which has acknowledged that there was information warning of attacks before Sunday's blasts.

"An attack like this should have been avoided," he said.

A steady stream of people was walking or moving on the streets on bicycles and motorbikes or in tuk-tuks.

Outside the church, Fernando and other bystanders look at the damage to the church, which had been renovated just a month earlier.

"It was looking so beautiful. We were so happy," he said.

"The priest was awarded for the job he had done. But now this has happened, it's terrible."

BK

 

Comments

Poll
Today's Question »
State minister for power Nasrul Hamid yesterday said everyone to have access to electricity by June. Do you think the feat achievable by the timeframe?
 Yes
 No
 No Comment
Yes 47.3%
No 48.7%
No Comment 4.1%
Video
More World News Stories

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting