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Friday , September 20 2019

2 arrested after clash in Sri Lanka town hit by Easter blast

Sri Lankan army soldiers secure the area around vandalized properties owned by Muslims following an overnight clash with Christians in Poruthota, a village in Negombo, about 35 kilometers North of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, May 6, 2019. Two people have been arrested and an overnight curfew lifted Monday after mobs attacked Muslim-owned shops and some vehicles in a Sri Lankan town where a suicide bombing targeted a Catholic church last month. Residents in the seaside town of Negombo say the mostly-Catholic attackers stoned and vandalized shops. It is unclear how the dispute began but most residents say a private dispute took a religious turn. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lanka police arrested two men after a personal feud led to clashes between two sectarian groups in a beachside resort north of the capital, the site of one of the deadliest Easter Sunday suicide bombings, as schools reopened to near-empty classes.

Two weeks after 257 people were killed by Islamist militants in hotels and churches across the country, police were hunting plotters on the loose as fears grew of ethnic clashes targeting Muslims. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombings. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said a clash on Sunday between two individuals in Negombo, where 102 people attending an Easter service were killed on April 21, quickly escalated. Government sources told Reuters that some Catholics and Muslims clashed, prompting an overnight curfew in Negombo.

A Reuters witness saw at least one shop, an office, three motorbikes and three three-wheel taxis had been damaged. Gunesekera said there were no reports of any serious injuries. Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranjith and some Muslim religious leaders visited the area to try to defuse the tension and asked liquor shops to be closed. (RTRS)

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