President Sauli Niinistö has lead Finland’s messages of condolence to the nation of Sri Lanka, after a series of devastating terror attacks targeted hotels and Christian churches on Sunday.
At least 290 people were killed and another 500 injured in suicide bombings which the Sri Lankan government says were carried out with the help of “an international network”.
On his official Twitter account, Niinistö sent a message to Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena saying “our thoughts are with the families of the victims. Finland strongly condemns these acts of terror and the people behind them”.
Similarly, Interim Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) wrote his own message on social media.
“Saddened by the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. We follow the situation closely. My thoughts are with the wounded and the families and friends of the victims. We firmly condemn these cowardly acts.
Foreign Ministry’s new travel advice
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka, telling people to avoid unnecessary travel to the island.
“Although the violence has not been aimed at tourists, we urge all travelers to observe caution. Avoid crowds” the new advice says.
Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) also expressed his sympathy for the relatives of the victims, and condemned Sunday’s attacks as “cowardly violence”.
Although there are 35 foreign nationals among the victims, there are no reports so far of any Finns being killed in the attacks.
What happened during the attacks?
The first reports of explosions in the capital Colombo were reported shortly before 09:00, with three churches targeted by suicide bombers during Sunday services.
There were also explsions at three hotels in the city; and two churches on other parts of the island, and the majority of victims are Sri Lankan nationals, scores of them Christians attending religious services.
As security forces carried out raids in the aftermath of the attacks, other bombs exploded as suspects fled from police. Three police officers were killed trying to apprehend suspects, and officers also disarmed a number of other bombs including one near the country’s main airport.
There is currently a curfew in place in Sri Lanka from 20:00 local time today, until 04:00 local time on Tuesday morning, when a national day of mourning will take place.