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Sri Lanka: Curfew lifted for 2 hrs in North Western Province

Sri Lanka: Curfew lifted for 2 hrs in North Western Province

Colombo: The indefinite curfew imposed in one of the provinces of the island nation will be lifted for two hours from 4 pm to 6 pm in the evening.

The Daily Mirror reported that the curfew would be re-imposed from 6 pm until 6 am tomorrow after quoting the police.

Some parts of Sri Lanka including North Western Province (NWP) were placed under indefinite curfew and social media was banned since Monday night after a 45-year-old man was killed by a sword-wielding mob in an escalating anti-Muslim backlash following the Easter terror attacks, Al Jazeera reported.

Violence broke out late on Monday, three weeks after eight-coordinated bombings killed at least 258 people, with mobs carrying out arson attacks including one involving around 2,000 people who vandalised a mosque, witnesses told Geo News.

Earlier on Tuesday, the police said that the nationwide curfew imposed overnight earlier (9 pm local time to 4 am) was raised on Tuesday morning except for the NWP.

Police chief Chandana Wickramaratne warned of stern action against rioters, and said that constables have been issued orders to use “maximum force,” Al Jazeera reported.

“The curfew in the NWP will continue until further notice,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera was quoted as saying.

Curfews were previously limited to specific areas where attacks had taken place, including Puttalam, Kurunegala and Gamphala districts near Colombo.

In an address to the nation on Monday night, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said a countrywide curfew was declared to prevent unidentified groups orchestrating communal violence.

Sri Lanka also temporarily banned some social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, after a posting sparked anti-Muslim riots across several towns.

The attacks came during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Residents in NWP said that crowds attacked mosques and damaged Muslim-owned businesses for a second day on Monday.

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