Heightened security measures remain in place in North Western province as of Tuesday, May 14, following a recent outbreak of anti-Muslim violence in the region. At least one person has been killed after hundreds of people attacked and burned mosques and shops owned by Muslims in the province beginning Sunday, May 12. The victim was stabbed in Puttalam district and was confirmed to have died from his wounds on Monday, May 13. Attacks were also reported in Hettipola, Minuwangoda, and Chilaw. An overnight curfew remains in effect for North Western province until further notice, while a nationwide curfew imposed by the police at 21:00 (local time) on Monday was lifted at 04:00 on Tuesday. Further intercommunal violence is possible in the coming hours and days as tensions remain high across the country.
The government also blocked access to some social media and messaging platforms, including Facebook and Whatsapp, on Monday until further notice. Vandalism and violence were reported particularly targeting Muslim-owned shops. Telecommunications 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 telecommunications disruptions and heightened security measures, including roadblocks, checkpoints, and increased deployment of security personnel, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer