Sri Lanka extends nationwide curfew after anti-Muslim riots

Police ride past the Jumha MosqueSymbol copyright
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Closely-armed police trip previous the Jumha Mosque, a type of attacked via rioters

Sri Lanka has imposed a national curfew for the second one night time in a row after a wave of anti-Muslim violence within the wake of the Easter bombings.

A Muslim guy was once stabbed to demise whilst rioters torched Muslim-owned retail outlets and vandalised mosques all over Monday’s assaults.

Police have arrested 60 other people, together with the chief of a far-right Buddhist staff.

The United International locations has referred to as for calm and a “rejection of hate”.

A national curfew, declared for the second one night time working, will come into impact at 21:00 (15:30 GMT) on Tuesday.

The rustic’s North-Western province, the place the worst violence flared, can be close down for longer, police mentioned.

Rioting there, north of the capital Colombo, noticed police hearth bullets into the air to disperse mobs marauding thru a number of cities.

Tensions were top since Islamist militants attacked church buildings and inns 3 weeks in the past on Easter Sunday, killing greater than 250 other people.

In keeping with the rioting, the UN’s Colombo workplace has suggested Sri Lankan government to “make certain that the placement does no longer escalate”.

It stressed out the significance of protecting the perpetrators and inciters of violence to account at this “crucial juncture” if peace is to be maintained.

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Sri Lankan squaddies patrol a street of Hettipola after a mob assault on a mosque

In a televised cope with, Police Leader Chandana Wickramaratne warned that officials would reply to rioters with most pressure.

Top Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has additionally appealed for calm, pronouncing the present unrest was once hampering the investigation into remaining month’s assaults.

Visiting Kuliyapitiya – a the town the place rioting took place – Mr Wickremesinghe mentioned he would no longer permit the lives of blameless other people to be disrupted.

Muslims make up just about 10% of Sri Lanka’s 22 million other people, who’re predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists. Mob violence in central Sri Lanka concentrated on Muslim communities in March of remaining yr triggered the federal government to claim a state of emergency.

How did the violence spread?

The unrest centred on districts north of the capital, Colombo:

  • Within the north-western the town of Kiniyama, masses of other people stormed a mosque, destroying home windows and doorways and burning Korans, in step with witnesses
  • Within the Catholic-majority the town of Chilaw, Muslim-owned retail outlets and mosques have been attacked after a dispute that began on Fb, police mentioned
  • A person died from stab wounds after a mob attacked his trade in Puttalam District, additionally in Sri Lanka’s north-west
  • Incidents have been reported within the the town of Hettipola, the place a minimum of 3 retail outlets have been reportedly torched
  • A big pasta manufacturing unit was once burned close to Minuwangoda, with the homeowners accusing police of status via whilst workers have been trapped inside of

How has the federal government spoke back?

The federal government says that safety forces have restored calm to streets within the spaces suffering from violence and demand officials are combating revenge assaults on Muslims.

“What we need to say is that the federal government may be very decided to regulate this and from this night onwards it might be totally managed,” Shiral Lakthilaka, an adviser to the president, informed the BBC.

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A Muslim guy walks within the Al-Masjidul Hudha mosque after a mob assault

Leaders from around the political spectrum were pleading for calm and urging other people to not proportion rumours by the use of social media.

Officers have blocked some social media platforms and messaging apps, together with Fb and Whatsapp, in an try to curb outbreaks of unrest.

Nonetheless, there’s worry amongst some Muslims that their fears about retaliatory violence weren’t acted on quickly sufficient. One Muslim businessman, who needed to stay nameless, informed the BBC he feared for his protection.

“We will see many puts the place the curfew has been introduced. The military is at the streets with weapons, however they do not take any motion towards the violence,” he mentioned.

What took place on Easter Sunday?

On Sunday 21 April six near-simultaneous suicide bombs exploded at inns and church buildings around the nation. Hours later, two extra bombs have been detonated, with fewer casualties, as police closed in on the ones at the back of the bombings.

Greater than 250 other people have been killed within the wave of the assaults which shocked the sector and the rustic – Sri Lanka was once weeks clear of marking 10 years of relative peace for the reason that finish of its brutal civil conflict.

Police have blamed native Islamists for the Easter Sunday bombings and dozens of arrests were made within the weeks since. The Islamic State staff has mentioned it was once concerned however has given no main points.

Sri Lanka has a historical past of ethnic battle and the newest violence has prompted alarm.

Separatists rebels from the Tamil minority neighborhood fought a violent insurgency towards executive forces for many years till the civil conflict resulted in 2009.

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