Four oceanic scientists were among the six Chinese nationals killed during the Easter Sunday bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said. The deceased included Li Jian, 38, and Pan Wenliang, 35, who were senior engineers at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCSIO).
Two others, Li Dawei, 30, and Wang Liwei, 26, were from the First Institute of Oceanography under the Ministry of Natural Resources, state run Global Times reported on Wednesday. Websites of both the institutes turned black and white to mourn the dead scientists.
Li, along with four other scientists, arrived at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo on April 18 and 19, respectively. They were supposed to participate in a joint scientific cooperation between China and Sri Lanka, the SCSIO said. The embassy said another five people from the Chinese Academy of Sciences were injured during the explosions. All of them have returned to China for further treatment, state run China Daily reported.
They had travelled to Sri Lanka in the mid of April for research purposes, it said. The series of coordinated attacks that ripped through three churches and luxury hotels claimed 253 lives and injured over 500 others.
The Lankan foreign ministry has confirmed the death of 42 foreign nationals, including 11 Indians, in the blasts. A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts.
The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attacks.
(With inputs from agencies.)