SL military says situation ‘totally under control’

The Sri Lanka military on Wednesday said the situation in the country was now “totally under control” following anti-Muslim violence earlier this week in several areas that left one person dead and dozens of shops and mosques destroyed.

A military official told Xinhua news agency that security still remained heightened in the North-Western Province and Gampaha district on the outskirts of Colombo which were affected by the unrest on Monday, but there were no incidents of violence on Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, a curfew was re-imposed in the North Western Province and Gampaha district till 4 a.m. Thursday while the nationwide curfew that was in force since Monday night was lifted on Wednesday morning, the Daily Mirror reported.

The police said that 78 people were arrested and remanded in connection with violence in the North-Western Province during which a Muslim man was stabbed to death while over 500 rioters torched Muslim-owned shops, homes and vandalized mosques on Monday.

These people were arrested from Kurunegala, Kuliyapitiya, Nikaweratiya and Chilaw areas.

The Army also sought public assistance to identify some of the perpetrators involved in the violence.

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, meanwhile, on Wednesday urged all members of political parties to maintain law and order and not to aggravate the already sensitive situation.

“The responsibility of protecting all citizens and maintaining law and order by us as leaders is the need of the hour,” he tweeted.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also asked the Ministers not to comment on the investigations being conducted on the Easter attacks.

“What we require now is not to reveal everything related to the investigations to the media and try scoring points but ensure the investigations are completed swiftly.”

The government has assured the safety of all communities and warned of stern action against anyone spreading hate.

Tensions have been running high in Sri Lanka since the Easter Sunday suicide bombings on three churches, three luxury hotels and two other locations, killing over 250 people and injuring hundreds. The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State.

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