Sri Lanka imposes nationwide curfew as anti-Muslim riots spread

Sri Lanka imposes nationwide curfew as anti-Muslim riots spread

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

Muslims constitute some 10% of Sri Lanka's 22 million people; Christians make up around 7.5% of the population. Since Sunday, violence against Muslims has been on the upsurge.

Sri Lankan police have arrested 23 people in connection with a spate of mob attacks on Muslim communities that left one person dead and dozens of shops and mosques destroyed.

The police media spokesman said the illegal activities committed by the persons engaged in violence will be noted in their police certificates.

Sri Lanka ordered a nationwide curfew for the second night in a row on Tuesday after a wave of anti-Muslim riots in the wake of the Easter bombings.

Elsewhere in NWP, north of Colombo, attackers outnumbering police and security forces set fire to Muslim-owned shops, vandalised homes and smashed windows, furniture and fittings inside several mosques. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group.

Mobs attacked Muslims' businesses, mosques and homes overnight on 12 and 13May, killing one.

"After they started smashing Muslim shops and throwing petrol bombs, the locals joined in".

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"What we see is a more a political crisis where certain political parties and their agents at the base level run out of control and they go and attack unnecessarily these people". Sri Lanka's police say they have either killed or arrested all those responsible for the bombings.

In a televised address, police chief Chandana Wickramaratne said constables have been asked to use maximum force against rioters. "Perpetrators could face up to a 10-year jail term", Gunasekera told Reuters.

A police source said police had fired tear gas to disperse mobs in some places in North Western Province.

Kurunegala town is located about 100 km from Colombo and Muslims constitute the second largest ethnic group there after the Sinhalese, who are mainly Buddhists.

All of the island nation's schools were set to reopen the day after the bombings following a two-week school break, but they remained closed after the attacks, which killed more than 250 people and injured hundreds more.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement that acts of sabotage were hampering an investigation by security forces and warned that "if the racism rises up ... and peace is disturbed the country will be destabilized".

He said it was awful and frightening to witness the unfolding events as innocent men, women and children of the Muslim community are targeted in reprisal for the horrendous and beastly attacks by some extremists on April 21. "The security forces have been given full powers to deal with those who violate the state of emergency and the islandwide curfew", he said.

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