• Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
  • Last Update : 03:43 pm

Sri Lanka town under curfew after religious violence

  • Published at 08:49 pm May 8th, 2019
Sri Lanka-Curfew
Security forces stand guard at St Antony shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 24, 2019 Reuters

A senior police officer said the restrictions were imposed to prevent an escalation of violence after attacks occurred in Negombo

A city near Sri Lanka's capital was placed under curfew by police Sunday, following clashes between Muslim and Christian mobs two weeks after suicide bombings left 257 people dead.

A senior police officer said the restrictions were imposed to prevent an escalation of violence after attacks occurred in Negombo - north of Colombo - where over 100 people died in a church bombing.

"About two motorcycles and a three-wheel taxi had been damaged in the clashes," the police officer told AFP. "We declared a curfew till 0130 GMT to contain the unrest."

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The country's main international airport is located in the area, but police said there was no disruption to airport traffic.

The officer said an investigation was underway into the clashes, the first violence between Muslims and Christians since the Easter Sunday attacks targeting three churches and three luxury hotels in the country.

The government has blamed the suicide attacks on a local jihadist group which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The country has been under a state of emergency since the attacks. Security forces and the police have been give sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.