Muslim killed in Sri Lanka riots despite curfew

A Sri Lankan army soldier stands guard after mobs attacked Muslim-owned shops at the Poruthota village in Negombo last week

A Muslim man was killed and dozens of shops and mosques were destroyed in fresh communal violence in Sri Lanka in the worst unrest since Easter Sunday bombings which killed almost 260 people.

An officer at the Marawila Hospital police said a 42-year old man admitted to the hospital with stab wounds had died. "This is the first death from the riots". In the town of Hettipola at least three shops were torched.

Police said they fired in the air and used tear gas at several places to deter people attempting to attack mosques.

Police said a curfew would be enforced until further notice in the country's North Western region, and until Tuesday morning in the rest of the nation.

Muslims make up almost 10 per cent of Sri Lanka's 22 million people who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.

"He was the main technology person for them", said one of the Sri Lankan police Criminal Investigation Department sources involved in the investigation.

On Monday, the Sri Lanka government blocked social media across the country.

Rioting there, north of the capital Colombo, saw police fire bullets into the air to disperse mobs marauding through several towns.

Earlier, Sri Lankan Civil Aviation Authority banned the use of drone and unmanned aircraft following the devastating terror attack on Easter Sunday.

The government on Tuesday relaxed nationwide night curfew in all areas except the northwestern province where the Muslim man was killed by a mob on Monday.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by a local radicalised Muslim group.

The attacks came during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

A mob targeted Muslim-owned shops after taking a Facebook post by a shopkeeper to be a threat.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said late on Monday he had given powers to the security forces to take strong action against those responsible for anti-Muslim violence.

"Don't laugh more, 1 day u will cry", he wrote, which local Christians took to be a warning of an impending attack.

Then the crowd surged into the mosque and ransacked it, the witness said.

Tensions have been high in Sri Lanka since Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-linked suicide bombings targeted Christians on Easter Sunday, killing and wounding hundreds of people.

Sri Lankan security personnel stand guard after the clashes erupted between the two communities in Negombo near Colombo.

Public schools completed their reopening after extended Easter holidays, but attendance was extremely low, according to education authorities.



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