Sri Lanka has been tense since the Easter Sunday bombings by Islamic terrorists that had killed more than 250 people. On Sunday 21 April six near-simultaneous suicide bombs exploded at hotels and churches across the country. Hours later, two more bombs were detonated, with fewer casualties, as police closed in on those behind the bombings.
Police have blamed two local Islamist groups for the Easter Sunday bombings and dozens of arrests have been made in the weeks since. The Islamic State group has said it was involved but has given no details.
After days of tension, there were incidents of anti-Muslim violence reported. As the number of incidents began to grow, the Sri Lankan Government had placed an overnight curfew nationwide. One Muslim man was slashed to death and many Muslim-owned shops were vandalized or were set on fire as retaliation to the Easter bombings.
Violence has been reported from the towns of Kiniyama, Chilaw, Hettipola, Minuwangoda and Puttalam District. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also appealed for calm, saying the current unrest was hampering the investigation into last month’s attacks.
In a televised address, Police Chief Chandana Wickramaratne warned that officers would respond to rioters with maximum force.