Sri Lanka on Saturday extended a law granting security forces emergency powers into third month following the Easter Day bomb attacks on hotels and churches that killed more than 250 people.
Allowed to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, Sri Lanka’s police and military have arrested more than 100 suspects in the crackdown after the Islamist militant attacks.
President Maithripala Sirisena issued orders for the law to be extended for another month from midnight on Friday, according to a gazette notification seen by Reuters.
Authorities say the threat of more attacks has been contained and security services have dismantled most of the network linked to the bombings, but operations were still underway to find any remaining suspects.
Sirisena said in the notification that extending emergency rule was “in the interest of public security, the preservation of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.”
The attacks sent shockwaves through the Indian Ocean island state, which had enjoyed relative peace since a civil war ended a decade ago. The economy has slowed worryingly, forcing the government to seek foreign loans, and the lucrative tourism industry has been hit.
Despite three advance intelligence reports from India that attacks were being planned, Sri Lanka’s top defence officials failed to act before the Easter Day suicide bombings by Islamist militants that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed more than 250 people, including 42 foreigners, though Sri Lankan authorities have blamed two little known domestic groups: the National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim.
Both have been banned under the emergency regulations.
Sirisena told foreign diplomats in May that he planned to lift the emergency once the security situation was “99 percent” back to normal.
What do we know about the Easter bombings
On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers killed at least 253 people and injured some 500 at churches and top-end hotels across Sri Lanka.
Most victims were Sri Lankans, but at least 38 foreigners are among the dead, including British, Indian and US citizens.
The official death toll had reached 359 by Thursday. However, the Sri Lankan government then revised the figure down, blaming a calculation error.
Evidence is mounting that local jihadists linked to the Islamic State (IS) group carried out the attack, and police have made a number of arrests.
The first reports were at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) on Sunday 21 April. Six blasts took place within a short space of time.
Three were at churches - in the Kochchikade district of the capital, Colombo; in Negombo, to the north; and in the eastern city of Batticaloa. The other three blasts rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Colombo.
Two further explosions were reported later as police searched for suspects - one in Dehiwala in southern Colombo, and another one near the Colombo district of Dematagoda, during a police raid.
Late on Sunday, an improvised explosive device was found and disposed of close to the country's main airport, near Colombo.
And on Monday another blast rocked a street near a church in the capital. Police were attempting to defuse explosives in a vehicle used by the attackers when it blew up.
According to police sources, an attack on a fourth hotel failed and helped lead police to the Islamist group now blamed for the assault.
On Friday, relatives of the bombers' suspected mastermind, Islamist preacher Zahran Hashim, were among 15 people killed when police raided a house in the eastern town of Sainthamaruthu.