Sri Lanka extends nationwide curfew after anti-Muslim riots


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Closely-armed police journey previous the Jumha Mosque, a kind of attacked by rioters

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

A Muslim man was stabbed to demise whereas rioters torched Muslim-owned outlets and vandalised mosques throughout Monday’s assaults.

Police have arrested 60 individuals, together with the chief of a far-right Buddhist group.

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

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

The nation’s North-Western province, the place the worst violence flared, might be shut down for longer, police stated.

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

Tensions have been excessive since Islamist militants attacked church buildings and lodges three weeks in the past on Easter Sunday, killing greater than 250 individuals.

In response to the rioting, the UN’s Colombo workplace has urged Sri Lankan authorities to “be sure that the state of affairs doesn’t escalate”.

It burdened the significance of holding the perpetrators and inciters of violence to account at this “important juncture” if peace is to be maintained.

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Sri Lankan troopers patrol a highway of Hettipola after a mob assault on a mosque

In a televised tackle, Police Chief Chandana Wickramaratne warned that officers would reply to rioters with most pressure.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has additionally appealed for calm, saying the present unrest was hampering the investigation into final month’s assaults.

Visiting Kuliyapitiya – a city the place rioting occurred – Mr Wickremesinghe stated he wouldn’t enable the lives of harmless individuals to be disrupted.

Muslims make up almost 10% of Sri Lanka’s 22 million individuals, who’re predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists. Mob violence in central Sri Lanka concentrating on Muslim communities in March of final yr prompted the federal government to declare a state of emergency.

How did the violence unfold?

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

Within the north-western city of Kiniyama, a whole bunch of individuals stormed a mosque, destroying home windows and doorways and burning Korans, in line with witnesses
Within the Catholic-majority city of Chilaw, Muslim-owned outlets and mosques had been attacked after a dispute that began on Fb, police stated
A person died from stab wounds after a mob attacked his enterprise in Puttalam District, additionally in Sri Lanka’s north-west
Incidents had been reported within the city of Hettipola, the place no less than three outlets had been reportedly torched
A big pasta manufacturing unit was burned close to Minuwangoda, with the homeowners accusing police of standing by whereas workers had been trapped inside

How has the federal government responded?

The federal government says that safety forces have restored calm to streets within the areas affected by violence and demand officers are stopping revenge assaults on Muslims.

“What we need to say is that the federal government could be very decided to regulate this and from tonight onwards it shall be utterly managed,” Shiral Lakthilaka, an adviser to the president, instructed the BBC.

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A Muslim man walks contained in the Al-Masjidul Hudha mosque after a mob assault

Leaders from throughout the political spectrum have been pleading for calm and urging individuals to not share rumours by way 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.

However, there’s concern amongst some Muslims that their fears about retaliatory violence weren’t acted on quickly sufficient. One Muslim businessman, who wished to stay nameless, instructed the BBC he feared for his security.

“We are able to see many locations the place the curfew has been introduced. The military is on the streets with weapons, however they do not take any motion in opposition to the violence,” he stated.

What occurred on Easter Sunday?

On Sunday 21 April six near-simultaneous suicide bombs exploded at lodges and church buildings throughout the nation. Hours later, two extra bombs had been detonated, with fewer casualties, as police closed in on these behind the bombings.

Greater than 250 individuals had been killed within the wave of the assaults which shocked the world and the nation – Sri Lanka was weeks away from marking 10 years of relative peace because the finish of its brutal civil conflict.

Police have blamed native Islamists for the Easter Sunday bombings and dozens of arrests have been made within the weeks since. The Islamic State group has stated it was concerned however has given no particulars.

Sri Lanka has a historical past of ethnic battle and the most recent violence has triggered alarm.

Separatists rebels from the Tamil minority neighborhood fought a violent insurgency in opposition to authorities forces for many years till the civil conflict led to 2009.

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