Curfew extended as 1 killed in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka yesterday announced a curfew for a second straight night after a man was killed by sword-wielding rioters in an escalating anti-Muslim backlash following the Easter terror attacks.
Violence broke out late on Monday, three weeks after Islamist extremist bombings killed 258 people, with rampaging mobs carrying out arson attacks and 2,000 people vandalizing a mosque, witnesses said.
Police announced another nationwide curfew for a second night to try and stop the violence, beginning at 9pm. The curfew had been in place all day in North-Western Province, where police said a 45-year-old Muslim man was slaughtered in his carpentry shop late on Monday by a crowd carrying swords.
Fauzul Ameen was buried yesterday at a Muslim cemetery in Nattandiya under tight security. Heavily armed troops and police backed by armored personnel carriers guarded a service attended by around 100 people.
Police said yesterday that 13 people had been arrested including Amith Weerasinghe, a man from Sri Lanka’s majority Buddhist Sinhalese community who was out on bail for his role in similar riots in March last year.
Elsewhere in the province, north of Colombo, attackers outnumbering police and security forces set fire to Muslim-owned shops, vandalized homes and smashed windows, furniture and fittings inside several mosques.
In the adjoining Gampaha district, men on motorbikes led arson attacks in the town of Minuwangoda, 45 kilometers north of Colombo, local residents said.
“They were from out of town,” an owner of an electronic goods store said by telephone. “After they started smashing Muslim shops and throwing petrol bombs, the locals joined in.”
He said police and security forces appeared to be overwhelmed and that by the time troops fired in the air to disperse the mobs it was too late.
A pasta factory owned by a Muslim businessman burned to the ground after unidentified attackers threw burning tires inside. “Police and security forces also did not do anything to put out the fire,” the owner of Diamond Pasta, Ashraf Jifthy, said. “Three of my Muslim workers were injured while trying to escape from the burning factory.”