Sri Lanka: Man slashed to death as mobs attack mosques, damage Muslim-owned properties

Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide overnight curfew after the worst outbreak of communal violence since the deadly Easter bombings.

A Muslim man was reportedly slashed to death in Sri Lanka on Monday, making him the first fatality in a violent new backlash against the Easter attacks.

The 45-year-old man died shortly after admission to a hospital in Puttalam district during anti-Muslim rioting, police told AFP news agency.

Police imposed the island-wide curfew from 9pm local time (15:30 GMT) to 4am, a police statement.

Officials told AFP the curfew was aimed at preventing an escalation of violence, after a second day of anti-Muslim riots in the country.

Curfews were previously limited to specific areas where attacks had taken place, including Puttalam, Kurunegala and Gamphala districts near Colombo.

Residents in Muslim areas of North Western Province said crowds attacked mosques and damaged Muslim-owned businesses for a second day on Monday.

“There are hundreds of rioters, police and army are just watching. They have burnt our mosques and smashed many shops owned by Muslims,” a resident, who asked not to be identified, told the Reuters news agency. “When we try to come out of our house, police tell us to stay inside.”

Police said there were incidents of mobs pelting stones and torching motorcycles and cars owned by Muslims.

“Several shops have been attacked,” a senior police officer told AFP. “When mobs tried to attack mosques, we fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse them.”

There were no immediate reports of casualties or arrests.

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