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ISIS Claims Responsibility for Sri Lanka Bombings

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The Islamic State says its members were behind the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, in a statement carried by the extremist group’s mouthpiece Amaq.

“Those, who carried out the attack that targeted the citizens of the coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday were Islamic State fighters,” Amaq reported on Tuesday.

The statement refers to the U.S.-led coalition, which has been fighting the extremist group in Iraq and Syria since it took over large areas in the two countries in 2014.

The death toll from multiple suicide attacks at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka over the Easter weekend rose to 321 on Tuesday, the national day of mourning for the victims.

Police said that the increase was due to more people succumbing to injuries.

The bombings in Sri Lanka were intended as retaliation for last month’s attack against Muslims in Christchurch, according to initial investigations by the Sri Lankan government, the deputy defence minister said.

“We believe [the massacre] was carried out by an extreme Islamist group as a reprisal to the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand,” State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said in a statement to parliament.

“This group is known to have links to an organisation named National Thowheed Jamath. We should take immediate steps to ban any such organisation that have links to extremist elements,” he added.

The explosions took place during busy Easter services at Christian churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo and in three five-star hotels in the capital.

Forty-two people have been arrested and over 20 houses searched in connection with investigations.

Wijewardene’s comments came as security forces and police searched the capital for a lorry and a van fitted with explosives identified by police in an intelligence report.

“The search is in progress, but nothing suspicious has been found so far,” a police officer said.

Police checked several motorcycles, cars, unattended parcels and other locations.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in Geneva that 45 children were killed and dozens were injured in the suicide attacks.

“No child should experience such a heartbreaking situation and no parents should lose their child forever under such horrible circumstances,” UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said.

Three minutes of silence were observed as more funerals of those killed in Sunday’s attacks took place.

Black and white flags were also raised in most towns as symbols of mourning.
The country has been under a state of emergency since late Monday.

High security was being maintained in Colombo and in Negombo, 35 kilometres bombings North of the capital, where a mass burial took place close to a church where more than 110 people were killed.

The state of emergency gives security forces special powers, including the right to search and arrest individuals.

(dpa/NAN)

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Adeleke Wins As Court Strikes Out Ineligibility Suit

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday struck out a suit seeking nullification of submission of name of Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the recent July 16 election.

The judge struck down the suit on the ground that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case.

The plaintiff in the suit, Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP and Adeleke before the court seeking order to void and set aside the submission of Adeleke’s name to INEC on ground of alleged unlawful action.

The grouse of the plaintiff was that Adeleke’s name was hurriedly submitted by PDP on March 11 as against between March 14 to 18 as contained in the INEC guidelines.

Adeleke’s name having not been submitted within the period fixed by INEC, the plaintiff asked the court to declare the submission, illegal, unlawful, null and void and be set aside.

He claimed that INEC must be bound by its official guidelines and that anything done outside the guidelines is against the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

However, in his judgment, Justice Obiora Egwuatu struck out the suit on the ground that the said Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman lacked locus standi to have instituted the case.

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Falconets Beat Canada 3-1, Set to Meet Holland in Quarter Final

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Nigeria’s U-20 girls, Falconets, set a World Cup group stage perfect record for themselves after beating Canada 3-1 in Alajuela on Thursday morning to finish with a perfect nine points out of nine in Group C.

Head Coach, Chris Musa, said before the encounter that his girls would seek to win even as a quarter-final ticket was already in the bag, in order to sustain their winning mentality following hard-fought victories over France and Korea Republic.

That was exactly what the Falconets did.
Africa’s best team conceded their first goal of the competition in an accidental manner, following goalkeeper Omini Oyono’s poor management of a backpass from Jumoke Alani that granted Kala Novak a fortuitous goal in less than two minutes.

“It was great for us to come back from that setback, and also conceding first in the tournament. We showed character and spirit, and that would be huge for us going forward in the competition,” Musa said after the match.

Midfield impresario Esther Onyenezide, whose vicious curling shot earned all three points against Korea Republic to send the Falconets into the last eight on Monday morning, scored from the penalty spot in the 24th minute to pull the Falconets level. Defender Mia Pante had handled the ball from a Blessing Okpe shot in the box.

The Falconets looked composed and surefooted in the middle with the return of Deborah Abiodun, who sat out the encounter with the Koreans, and Chiamaka Okwuchukwu also played an inspired game after starting for the first time in the tournament. Her firm header from a Blessing Okpe cross in the 15th minute missed narrowly.

Onyenezide shot Nigeria ahead, also from the spot, in the 32nd minute minute, after Simi Awujo’s dangerous play against Mercy Idoko, as the latter went for a header from Rofiat Imuran’s inswinger, was penalised.

In the added time of first period, Idoko came close to scoring her first goal of the tournament, but her touch from another Imuran inswinger kissed the upright.

In the second half, the Falconets added pace and brilliant use of space to their game, and it was no surprise when Imuran, again with a visionary cross, set up substitute Chioma Olise for Nigeria’s third goal.

Their imperial campaign in the group stage earns the Falconets a quarter-final date with the Netherlands in Alajuela as from 1am on Monday (Nigeria time).

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Supporters Throng Obasanjo’s Residence As Tinubu Visits Former President

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Scores of supporters of the All Progressives Congress in Ogun State, Wednesday, stormed the residence of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta as the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu visited the former President.

Tinubu arrived at the Penthouse of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in his chopper at about 1:09pm in company of some party leaders.

He was received by Governor Dapo Abiodun, former Governor Gbenga Daniel, his predecessor, Segun Osoba, and other Ogun State government functionaries.

They have all gone into a meeting with the president.

The meeting was believed to be in connection with ambition of Tinubu in the coming elections.

Our correspondent reports that the duo had not been seen together since 2015 when he escorted the then APC candidate, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to Obasanjo’s residence.

He was also at the 78th birthday of the former President held at Abeokuta in March, 2015.

The two of them have since kept their distances as Obasanjo withdrew his support for Buhari and the APC, which he supported to power by tearing his card as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

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