Lanka town under curfew after anti-Muslim attacks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 13, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, May 13, 2019

Lanka town under curfew after anti-Muslim attacks

Catholics hold first Sunday mass after Easter bombings

Sri Lankan troops in a northern town fired shots into the air and police imposed a curfew yesterday after mobs attacked a mosque, in renewed religion tensions in the wake of the Easter terror attacks.

Police spokesman RuwanGunasekera said that the mobs in Chilaw, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the capital Colombo, also attacked Muslim-owned businesses.

The violence erupted in Chilaw, a Catholic-majority town, after a resident misunderstood a Facebook post as a threat against Christians.

Gunasekera said the Muslim man who posted the comment has been arrested. He said the curfew would be lifted at dawn today.

The latest unrest came as Catholic churches resumed their public Sunday masses for the first time after the April 21 bombings at three churches and three luxury hotels left 258 people dead.

The attacks were blamed on a local group which had pledged an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group.

Last week, there were similar tensions at a town between Colombo and Chilaw where an argument between two men degenerated into religious violence leaving three people wounded.

Official sources said the curfew was imposed in Chilaw to prevent the unrest spreading to other areas.

Muslims make up around 10 percent of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka’s 21 million population and Christians about 7.6 percent.

Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since the suicide bombings. Security forces and police have been given sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.

Sri Lanka’s police say they have either killed or arrested all those responsible for the bombings but that the threat of global terrorism persists.

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