The Sri Lankan government blocked access to some social media and messaging platforms, including Facebook and Whatsapp, on Monday, May 13, citing recent violence in the country. Vandalism and violence were reported particularly targeting Muslim-owned shops. Government sources also stated that a man was beaten in Chilaw following a dispute on social media. Telecommunication disruptions are likely in the coming hours and days and further social media blockages are possible with little or no warning in the near term.
A series of coordinated bombings struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21), killing at least 253 people, including 40 foreign nationals, and wounding approximately 500 others. Churches and prominent hotels in Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa were targeted in the attacks. Authorities blamed a local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath, for the attacks, claiming that the group planned the bombings with assistance from an international terrorist organization. The Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility for the attack via its media arm on April 23.
Individuals in Sri Lanka are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate telecommunication disruptions and heightened security measures, including road blocks, checkpoints, and increased deployment of security personnel, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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