RELATIVES weep near the coffin of 12-year-old Sneha Savindi, who was among the people killed on Sunday at St Sebastian Church in Negombo, 
Sri Lanka. AP
Local religious groups have come out in solidarity with the families of the 290 people killed in Sri Lanka over the Easter weekend.

Today Sri Lanka holds a national day of mourning following a deadly Easter Sunday, which saw eight terrorist bombs blast through three churches and several luxury hotels.

Sri Lankan police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said 24 suspects were arrested for their involvement in the co-ordinated bombings.

The country's Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the suicide bombers belonged to the militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath.

Police yesterday found 87 detonators near the main bus depot in the capital, Colombo.

Officials declined to comment on whether these were linked to Sunday's attacks.

The attacks have been condemned across the world.

Sri Lankan authorities said 39 foreign tourists were killed in the bombings, including eight British nationals, eight Indians, three of the four children of Danish business tycoon Anders Holch Povlsen, and two Australian citizens.

The People's Republic of China's state media said two of the country's citizens were killed, while other nationalities included American, Japanese and Portuguese.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his condolences to the people and government of Sri Lanka.

The Presidency said: “The people of South Africa stand in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka during this difficult time.

"The president condemned the attacks in the strongest terms and emphasised that South Africa would continue to use its non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council to prioritise the fight against terrorism and extremist groups across the world.”

In Cape Town, a vigil was held on Sunday at St George's Cathedral, together with the Claremont Main Road Mosque.

The Claremont Main Road Mosque appealed to people to show the same solidarity and compassion for Sri Lanka that poured in during the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks in March.

“These bomb blasts are the latest acts of inhumanity and cold-heartedness targeting places of worship and have claimed the lives of over 100 Christian worshippers and maimed over 500 people in Sri Lanka.

"We extend our sincere condolences to the people of Sri Lanka and pray for the victims and their loved ones,” the mosque's board said.

St George's Cathedral dean Michael Weeder said: “Every faith feels a special burden for Palestine, Christchurch.

"When Imam Rashied Omar (of the Claremont Main Road Mosque) asked me whether we were hosting a vigil for what happened in Sri Lanka, we had to,” Weeder added.

The council for Muslim theologians, Jamiatul Ulama South Africa, has appealed to people living in Colombo to reach out to each other.

“We extend our condolences towards the families of those killed in these attacks, in particular, and the people of Sri Lanka, in general, as we also pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.

“This level of violence which shows a total disregard for the sanctity of human life, let alone the sacredness of places of worship, is abominable and shows the depravity of perpetrators who in apparent co-ordinated attacks, intended to inflict large-scale carnage and mayhem,” they said.

CAPE TIMES