In Pictures: Sri Lanka hit by religious riots - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Sri Lanka hit by religious riots

Military called in to restore order as two days of rioting and looting have led to four deaths in coastal towns.

Dinouk Colombage | | Politics, War & Conflict, Asia, Riots, Protests

Aluthgama, Sri Lanka - Riots by Sinhala Buddhist mobs targeting the Muslim population have swept through Sri Lanka's southern coastal towns of Beruwala and Aluthgama.

An alleged assault by a Muslim youth on a Buddhist monk on Thursday resulted in the Sinhala Buddhist nationalist group, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), demonstrating against the Muslim population of Aluthgama on Sunday.

In two days of rioting and looting four people have been killed, including a Tamil security guard, and 80 others injured, the majority being from the Muslim community. Over 60 homes and businesses were set on fire in the two days while several mosques were also damaged.

The police were unable to control the mobs who numbered in the thousands, according to eyewitness reports. Eventually the military was called in to restore order.

The towns, which were once tourist attractions, are now under the blanket of a military curfew with many Muslim residents fearing to return to their homes. Sinhala Buddhist families in the area have taken to marking their homes with the Buddhist flag in an attempt to ensure they are not caught up in attacks. 

Follow Dinouk Colombage on Twitter: @dinoukc

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