Sri Lanka revises bombings death toll down by 100


– Chinedu Nwaduru, ABH Press

Death toll from Easter bombings revised down by about 100 as health ministry said some victims were counted twice.
The first bodies began arriving at Colombo’s main mortuary half an hour after suicide bombers attacked a series of churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on the morning of Easter Sunday.

Many of them were badly damaged and peppered with shrapnel wounds, Chief Consultant Judicial Medical Officer Dr. Ajith Tennakoon told Al Jazeera, pulling open a drawer in his desk to take out a plastic evidence bag containing a silver ball bearing measuring only a few millimetres across.
The scale of the disaster – the biggest attack in the country since the long-running conflict with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended a decade ago – added to the pressure on the authorities to help families find and identify their loved ones in a timely manner.

By Wednesday, the death toll from the attacks, which also targeted two churches outside Colombo, had risen to 359.

But late on Thursday, the Ministry of Health abruptly revised the figure down to 253, blaming the difficulty in identifying the bodies. The ministry’s director general did not return Al Jazeera’s calls for comment.

The sharp drop in the death toll followed earlier revelations that the government had failed to act on warnings from international intelligence agencies that attacks were imminent, adding to questions about the government’s handling of the crisis.

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