A British woman and her two children are feared to be among eight victims from the UK killed in a wave of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that left nearly 300 people dead.
Anita Nicholson, a 42-year-old lawyer, and her son, Alex, 11, are thought to have died when a suicide bomber detonated his device in the breakfast queue at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo, according to reports. Her husband Ben, 43, is believed to be the only survivor from the family as the couple’s daughter, Annabel, has not been accounted for, according to the Daily Telegraph.
They were reported to have been dining in the Shangri-La when the bomber struck. According to her LinkedIn profile, Anita Nicholson was based in Singapore as managing counsel at the mining and metals company Anglo American.
At least 30 foreigners are among the 290 confirmed fatalities in the targeted blasts at luxury hotels and churches on the island, including those from the UK, China, Turkey, Japan, the Netherlands, China, Portugal, Australia and India.
Three children of the Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen died in Sunday’s attacks, according to the clothing company Bestseller, which he owns.
In the days before the blasts, Alma, one of his children, posted online a picture of her siblings next to a swimming pool in Sri Lanka. It is not known which of the four children survived the bombings.
The Holch Povlsens, who also own the online clothing retailer Asos, are Scotland’s largest largest private landowners and are trying to restore the Highlands in a huge re-wilding programme across Sutherland and the Grampian mountains.
A government-ordered social media blackout in Sri Lanka was hindering efforts by friends and family from outside the island to make contact with loved ones on Monday.
On Monday, the Sri Lankan high commissioner to the UK, Manisha Gunasekera, said eight British nationals were killed in the attacks.
“As of now I think there is information on eight nationals who have lost their lives and the other numbers are of other nationals,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Gunasekera said the investigations were moving “very swiftly” but warned against taking a “linear view” on the motive of the attacks.
She said: “This cuts across the ethnic and religious dimensions … it’s very difficult to see who has been targeted. It appears as if the entirety of Sri Lanka has been targeted as well as the unity and coexistence that Sri Lankans have attempted so hard to safeguard over the years.”
The British MP Tulip Siddiq tweeted that one of her relatives had been killed in the attacks but did not give any more details.
A Sri Lankan TV chef and her daughter were among the first victims of the attacks to be named after they were killed in a blast at the Shangri-La hotel, according to family members. Nisanga Mayadunne, daughter of TV cook Shantha, posted a photo on social media with the caption: “Easter breakfast with family” shortly before the attack.
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said several American citizens had been killed but it was too early to give specific details.
Stef Blok, the Dutch foreign minister, said one citizen from the Netherlands had died. He tweeted: “Horrified by the terrible attacks on this Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. Our thoughts are with the victims, including one Dutch national at this moment. The Netherlands has passed its heartfelt condolences to the Sri Lankan people. We stand with you.”
Two Chinese nationals were killed during the blasts, the Chinese state newspaper People’s Daily reported. Earlier, the state news agency, Xinhua, said four Chinese nationals were injured and were in a stable condition in hospital.
The two Turkish engineers, named by state media as Serhan Selçuk Nariçi and Yiğit Ali Çavuş, died in the attack. They were working on a project in Sri Lanka, the state agency Anadolu said.
Japanese nationals had been injured in the terrorist attacks, according to the Kyodo News agency.