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.
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.
Present Your Primary Six Certificate If You Went to School, PDP Tells Oshiomhole
The Peoples Democratic Party, on Monday, asked a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, to present his Primary School Leaving Certificate if he actually went to school.
The Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council for the Edo governorship election, Chief Dan Orbih, made the demand while addressing party members and supporters in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state.
Orbih also urged Oshiomhole to tell Nigerians the cause of his quarrel with his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, whom he described as a worthy alumnus of the University of Ibadan.
“They said Governor Godwin Obaseki, who graduated from the University of Ibadan, has no certificate. I challenge Adams Oshiomhole to show us his Primary 6 certificate,” Orbih stated.
He urged Oshiomhole to “allow Edo people to decide who governs them. In four years, Godwin Obaseki has done more than what Oshiomhole did in eight years.”
On his part, Obaseki announced that the construction of the 12.75km Ososo-Okpella Road, which was abandoned by previous administration, would begin before the end of the year.
How Arsenal Conquered Chelsea to Win 2019/20 FA Cup
The 2020 FA Cup will always be remembered as the final without any fans.
It will also be remembered as Arsenal’s first trophy under Mikel Arteta after they came from behind to beat Chelsea and claim a record 14th FA Cup triumph.
Chelsea drew first blood when Olivier Giroud teed up Christian Pulisic, who slotted the ball past Emi Martinez.
The American terrorised the Arsenal defence in the opening stages of the game and he threatened to double Chelsea’s lead shortly afterwards.
But Mikel Arteta’s side rode the storm and looked to hit the Blues on the break with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang operating down the left channel in between Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta.
And it was down that channel that Aubameyang hauled his side back into the final.
Kieran Tierney’s lovely ball found the Arsenal skipper as he outpaced Azpilicueta before being brought down by the Chelsea defender.
Penalty and a yellow card for the Spaniard.
Aubameyang brushed himself down and sent Willy Caballero the wrong way.
But it was game over for Azpilicueta shortly afterwards as he went down holding his hamstring and was replaced by Andreas Christensen.
After half-time, Chelsea’s goalscorer suffered the same fate as Pulisic also left the pitch close to tears as Pedro replaced him.
Pulisic was probably the best player on the pitch but his injury didn’t appear to stunt Chelsea as they looked the more likely to score.
That was until, out of nowhere, Aubameyang grabbed his second goal of the game in clinical style.
Hector Bellerin’s surging run forward saw the ball break to Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian found Aubameyang, who twisted Kurt Zouma inside-out before dinking the ball delightfully over Caballero.
Six minutes later, Arsenal had a mountain to climb after midfielder Matteo Kovacic was shown a second yellow card for an innocuous-looking challenge on Granit Xhaka.
Quite why VAR was used to reverse the decision is baffling.
While Chelsea will feel hard done by, Arsenal saw out the remaining 17 minutes – plus seven additional minutes – in a professional manner as they won the FA Cup yet again!
Grocery Retailer, Shoprite, Pulls Out of Nigeria
Africa’s biggest grocery retailer, Shoprite, is exiting Nigeria after 15 years.
The Cape Town-based retailer has started a formal process to consider the potential sale of all or a majority stake in its supermarkets in Nigeria, it said in a trading statement for the 52 weeks to end June released on Monday.
South African retailers have struggled in the Nigeria market and most recently Mr Price has exited the market after Woolworths did the same six years ago.
In the statement, Shoprite said the results for the year do not reflect any of their operations in Nigeria as it will be classified as discontinued operation.
International supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6% to group sales, and reported 1.4% decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78% of overall sales and saw 8.7% rise for the year.
As a result of lockdown, customer visits declined 7.4% but the average basket spend increased by 18.4%.