Vatican City, Apr 25 (EFE).- Pope Francis Monday urged Sri Lanka to unveil the truth behind the 2019 Easter attacks that left 269 dead and hundreds injured, amid allegations that the government was involved in a cover-up.
“Please, out of love for justice, out of love for your people, let it be made clear once and for all who were responsible for these events,” the pope said.
“This will bring peace to your conscience and to your country.”
He addressed some 3,500 Sri Lankan Catholics working in Italy, including a delegation of the families of victims and survivors of the terrorist bomb attacks.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo led the delegation.
Some 270 people, including at least 45 foreign nationals, were killed and 500 injured after three churches and three luxury hotels were hit in a series of coordinated Islamist suicide bomb attacks on Apr.21, 2019.
Most of the casualties took place in St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in the suburb of Negombo, belonging to Cardinal Ranjith’s Archdiocese of Colombo, where 113 died.
The other churches hit were St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade and the Evangelical Zion Church of Batticaloa on the eastern coast.
The cardinal has been vigorously calling for justice, alleging that the government was covering up the investigations into the bombings to protect the masterminds.
Cardinal Ranjith has blamed the president and his government for failing to keep his pledge to grant justice to the victims and cleansing the country of “all elements of terror”.
“The incumbent president who campaigned on a promise to investigate the attack have forgotten all those promises, brushed commission findings under the rug, attempted to hide facts,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
Condemning the coverup, he warned that “everyone responsible for this will suffer the consequences of their actions soon.”
The pope also prayed that the country tide over its worst economic crisis in memory.
With foreign exchange reserves abysmally low, the island nation is struggling to import essential goods, like food, fuel, cooking gas, and medicine, and is facing power cuts of up to 13 hours a day.
The devaluation of its currency sent inflation soaring to 21.5 percent in March, the highest so far, hitting the already struggling businesses and the people.
Sri Lanka has been roiled with nationwide protests demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government over the unprecedented crisis blamed on rank corruption and mismanagement. EFE