Sri Lanka: Troops patrol areas hit by anti-Muslim violence
Sri Lankan soldiers in armoured vehicles on Tuesday patrolled towns hit by sectarian violence this week as residents recalled how Muslims had hid in paddy fields to escape mobs attacking their homes and shops.
Authorities said the situation in the worst-affected northwestern parts of the Indian Ocean island nation was under control after anti-Muslim mobs appeared to have moved from town to town starting on Sunday.
A man was stabbed to death and crowds attacked mosques and burned Korans in violence targeting Muslims for the Easter bombings that killed more than 250 people in churches and hotels, mostly in Colombo.
“The Muslim community huddled in nearby paddy fields, that’s how no one died,” said one of a group of men gathered outside a white-and-green mosque with smashed windows and doors in the town of Kottampitiya.
A group of about a dozen people had arrived in taxis and attacked Muslim-owned stores with stones just after midday on Monday, they said, with the mob soon swelling to 200, and then 1,000.
Besides the main mosque, the mob attacked the main mosque, 17 Muslim-owned businesses and 50 homes, witnesses said.