Sri Lanka town under curfew after anti-Muslim attacks

By AFP
Published: May 12, 2019
Email
Violence erupted in Chilaw after a resident misunderstood Facebook post as a threat against Christians.PHOTO: AFP

Violence erupted in Chilaw after a resident misunderstood Facebook post as a threat against Christians.PHOTO: AFP

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

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera 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 on Monday.
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.

Sri Lanka Catholics hold first Sunday mass after Easter attacks

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.
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.

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

Facebook Conversations

More in World