Fresh religious nationalist violence in Sri Lanka coastal town – Update

ALUTGAMA, June 17, 2014 (AFP) – More deadly violence flared in a Sri Lankan coastal resort where Buddhist hardliners set shops and homes alight for a second night running in defiance of a curfew, police and residents said Tuesday. Amid mounting international concern at the unrest, residents of a town which has borne the brunt said an unarmed security guard was killed in an attack outside a Muslim-owned farm, raising the overall death toll to four.

“More than a dozen houses and shops have been burnt overnight,” a police source told AFP from the mainly Muslim town of Alutgama after another night of mob violence by followers of the extremist Buddhist Force.

Western embassies in Colombo advised their nationals holidaying in the area to stay indoors, while other foreigners were urged to avoid crowded areas and respect the curfew.

In Welipanna, a suburb of Alutgama, residents said nine houses and 26 shops were destroyed overnight by a mob of 50 to 60 men armed with guns, petrol bombs and knives.

Local school principal, A. R. M. Nahuman, said residents had pleaded with authorities to provide more police protection but to little avail.

“There were only three constables and they were quite helpless in the face of t