The Sri Lankan authorities today reduced by more than a hundred the balance of fatalities from the attacks on Easter Sunday, and announced that the balance is 253 dead and not 359 as previously reported.
The error, they acknowledged, was due to the fact that some bodies of mutilated victims had been counted several times.
The Ministry of Health reported that at the end of the autopsies, since “several of the victims were very mutilated”, in some cases, a “double counting” occurred by mistake.
Thus, the initial official balance released by the police was reduced by 106 deaths after contrasts autopsies and DNA reports, explained the ministry.
On the other hand, the Catholic churches of the country will remain closed until the security situation improves after the attacks of Easter, whose “responsibility” assumed on Thursday the head of the Ministry of Defense to present his resignation.
This resignation comes after the State of Sri Lanka acknowledged this week “failures” in its mission to ensure national security, having been in possession of previous information about the risk of suicide attacks.
Hemasiri Fernando delivered his letter of resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also Minister of Defense.
The fundamentalists attacked the Christian minority of the island of South Asia on Sunday morning in three churches that officiated the Easter Mass, causing a bloodbath. At the same time there were explosions in three luxury hotels.
“On the advice of the security forces, we will keep all the churches closed,” announced a senior official of the local Church, who added that “there will be no public mass until a new order.”
These attacks, despite the reduction in the balance of victims, are among the deadliest in the world since September 11, 2001.
The authorities attribute their authorship to the local extremist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ). The jihadist organization ISIS claimed the attacks in a video, but it is believed that they really only tried to capitalize on it.
The Sri Lankan government announced that “nine kamikazes” in total had died in the attacks. Eight were identified, but their names have not been revealed.