Colombo: A total of 176 children have lost either one or both of their parents during the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people, a media report quoted the head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church as saying. A total of 7 suicide bombers carried out a series blasts that targeted three churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on April 21. The attacks injured 500 people. One hundred and seventy six children have lost either both or one of their parents in the bombings that took place on April 21. The church is focusing on these groups to help them recover and return to normalcy,” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror on Monday. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London He made these comments on his visit to Rome last week. He said the church will not concentrate on the renovation of churches damaged in the blasts as the government has undertaken that task. The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. The Lankan government announced that all the damaged churches will be completely repaired by the government. He said that during his visit, he briefed Pope Francis about what happened and what the church was doing to rebuild the lives of those affected by the carnage. I provided the Pope with DVDs on the Easter Sunday attacks, the Cardinal said.
The talks are being held in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in an effort to end nearly two years of fighting between Government forces, pro-government militias and rebels that has killed some 180,000 people and displaced 2 million others in the western Darfur region.The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today the incidence of sexual- and gender-based violence in and around camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) remains a matter of concern throughout Darfur, with cases being reported regularly.This week saw two instances of kidnapping of village women in the Masteri and Geneina areas with up to 12 women abducted. Insecurity around Kalma continues, in the absence of intensive police patrolling, UNMIS added. Meetings between IDP leaders and government security forces are giving some hope that the situation may soon improve.In southern Sudan, where a peace agreement in January ended a separate two-decades-long conflict between the Government and rebels, a massive UN-supported measles immunization campaign which was due to start in Western Equatoria state on 21 November has been postponed because of inter-ethnic fighting in the state capital of Yambio.The campaign, which aims to immunize about 4.5 million children between 6 months and 15 years of age by next year, will begin instead in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba on 25 November, according to UNMIS.Measles vaccination coverage in Southern Sudan is very low and outbreaks common, leading to many avoidable child deaths. Local and international staff preparing for the campaign were among more than 100 UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) staff temporarily relocated from the Yambio area yesterday due to violence.