Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper

Lankan cricketer recounts church bombing horror

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AFP :
Sri Lankan cricketer Dasun Shanaka barely survived one of the deadly blasts that killed more than 320 people in the island nation on Easter Sunday, and says the horrific scenes have left him "scared" to go out.
The 27-year-old allrounder skipped Easter service at St Sebastian's Church in his hometown of Negombo because of a long trip the day before, he told Cricinfo.
It was among six churches and hotels targeted by suicide bombers who killed 321 people and injured hundreds more-the worst violence seen in the country since a civil war ended a decade ago.
The government has blamed the attacks on Islamist militants.
"Normally I would have gone to church... (but) I was tired," Shanaka told the website in comments published Monday.
"That morning, when I was at my house, I heard a sound, and then people were saying a bomb had gone off at the church. I rushed there, and I'll never forget the scene.
"The entire church was destroyed, absolutely shattered, and people were dragging lifeless bodies outside."
The destruction at St Sebastian's was still visible Tuesday-parts of broken religious statues and smashed pews littered the floor-as funerals of victims were held.
More people are believed to have died in the blast at St Sebastian's than any of the other attacks, with the local hospital receiving more than 100 bodies.
"If you saw the scene, you would know there was no way anyone inside could have survived, because simply the debris from the blast had injured everyone even in the vicinity," Shanaka told Cricinfo.

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