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Sri Lanka govt orders nationwide curfew for second night
[COLOMBO] Sri Lanka's police declared Tuesday a nationwide curfew for a second night running, after anti-Muslim riots killed one man and left dozens of shops, homes and mosques damaged.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the night curfew will go into effect from 9.00 pm (15:30 GMT) while the most affected North Western Province will have a longer shutdown.
The government issued a text message to citizens announcing the curfew.
Sri Lankan police arrested 23 people on Tuesday in connection with a spate of attacks on Muslim-owned homes and shops in apparent reprisal for the Easter bombings by Islamist militants that killed more than 250 people.
Soldiers in armoured vehicles patrolled the towns hit by sectarian violence this week as residents recalled how Muslims had hid in paddy fields to escape mobs carrying rods and swords, incensed over the militant attacks.
The April 21 attacks, claimed by Islamic State, targeted churches and hotels, mostly in Colombo, killing more than 250 people and fuelling fears of a backlash against the island nation's minority Muslims.
Mobs moved through towns in Sri Lanka's northwest on motorbikes and in buses, ransacking mosques, burning Korans and attacking shops with petrol bombs in rioting that began on Sunday, Muslim residents said.
Police said they arrested 23 people from across the island for inciting violence against Muslims, who make up less than 10 percent of SriLanka's 22 million people who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the situation is under control and no new incidents had been reported on Tuesday.
But a nationwide curfew from 9 pm (1530 GMT) to 4 am would be in effect for a second night.
The lone fatality was a man killed while trying to protect his home from attack.