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Terrorism Foreign ministry advises Swiss citizens not to travel to Sri Lanka

Ceremony for victims of Sri Lanka bombings

Candles are lit in front of the portraits of the victims of blasts as locals and their relatives pay respects and say prayers during a religious ceremony at Katuwapitiya, about 42 km from Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 28, 2019. 

(Keystone / M.a. Pushpa Kumara)

The Swiss foreign ministry has advised Swiss citizens not to travel to Sri Lanka unless their journey is essential, following the deadly Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed over 250 people and injured hundreds.

"The security situation is confusing and its evolution uncertain,” the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said in an updated online travel advisoryexternal link on Saturday.

Until the situation is clarified, it is not advisable to travel to Sri Lanka for holidays or other non-essential trips, the department added.

External Content

EDA travel advice for Sri Lanka

The Swiss tour operator Hotelplan has decided to immediately cancel all planned trips to the island leaving Switzerland up to May 31. It is no longer taking reservations for Sri Lanka until further notice.

Sri Lanka has been on high alert since the bomb attacks on Easter Sunday, with nearly 10,000 soldiers deployed across the island to carry out searches and hunt down members of two local Islamist groups believed to have carried out the attack. 

The government has said that the bomb attacks on three churches and four hotels, most of which were in the capital Colombo, were carried out by nine well-educated Sri Lankans, eight of whom have been identified.

Authorities have detained over 100 people since the bombings in three churches and four hotels, most of which were in the capital Colombo.

Most of the victims were Sri Lankans, although authorities said at least 40 foreigners were also killed, many of them tourists sitting down to breakfast at hotels when the bombers struck. They included two Swiss nationals as well as British, US, Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese citizens.

The SonntagsBlick newspaper reported on Sunday that Switzerland plans to send two police investigators to support the Sri Lankan authorities.

"This presence simplifies the exchange of information with the police and tasks such as the identification or repatriation of corpses," a federal police spokesman explained. Federal police took a similar approach after the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and Nice in 2016. 

RTS/EDA/sb

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