78 arrested in Sri Lanka over violent clashes
15 May 2019, 18:44 ( 11 days ago)
At least 78 people have been arrested over violent clashes which erupted in northwestern Sri Lanka earlier this week, the police said on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara said the suspects were detained from several police divisions across the North Western Province including Kurunegala, Kuliyapitiya, Nikaweratiya and Chilaw.
Gunasekara said investigations were ongoing to apprehend more suspects in connection with the violent clashes and have also sought public assistance.
"The police are inspecting the video clips containing the tense situation in the North Western Province. We hope to arrest all the perpetrators soon," he said.
Gunasekara said a curfew would be re-imposed in the province and the Gampaha District on the outskirts of the capital which was also affected by the violence, in order to prevent any further tensions.
The curfew, imposed for the third day, would begin from 7:00 p.m. local time to 4:00 a.m. on Thursday.
At least one person was killed and several injured in the violent clashes seen as one of the worst ethnic violence in Sri Lanka's recent history.
The military said Wednesday that the situation was totally under control in the affected areas but a high security contingency remained on the ground.
Several Muslim mosques, shops and houses were damaged and burnt in the clashes after more than 500 mobs took to streets on Monday morning.
The government has assured the safety of all communities and has warned of stern action against anyone spreading racism.
Fears of ethnic violence have been growing in Sri Lanka following a string of bomb attacks on April 21, which killed over 250 people and injured 500 others.