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Sri Lanka police arrest 49 over religious riots

Published on Jun 18, 2014 1:32 PM
 
Muslim boys stand next to a burnt house after clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Aluthgama on June 16, 2014. At least three Muslims were killed and 75 people seriously injured in violence between Buddhists and Muslims in southern Sri Lankan coastal towns best known as tourist draws, with Muslim homes set ablaze, officials and residents said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

ALUTGAMA, Sri Lanka (AFP) - Sri Lanka's police arrested 49 people overnight over deadly anti-Muslim riots in a tourist region where Buddhist hardliners have set shops and homes ablaze, a senior officer said on Wednesday.

Both Buddhists and Muslims were arrested during a police crackdown in the southern resort towns, where two nights of violence have left four people dead, the officer said.

"We have already arrested 49 and remanded 25 of them and further arrests will take place today," Sri Lanka police spokesman Ajith Rohana told AFP.

A curfew was also lifted in the mainly-Muslim towns of Beruwala and Alutgama, where followers of the extremist Buddhist Force, or BBS, went on the rampage on Sunday and Monday nights. Hundreds of troops have been deployed to help police contain the violence, which erupted after a BBS mob marched in Alutgama on Sunday, with clashes breaking out as it claimed its procession was stoned by Muslims.

 
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