Sri Lanka troops deployed at Muslim town after rioting

Chandi Dharmaratne

COLOMBO, Sept 21, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops were deployed at a Muslim town in the island’s east to quell rioting following the massacre of 10 residents, military officials said Thursday.

Soldiers were deployed in the town of Pottuvil after residents clashed with local police, although an overnight curfew was eased early Thursday.

“Soldiers are patrolling the streets in Pottuvil and the area is quiet today,” a military official in the area said by telephone.

Police opened fire on a group of Muslims who mobbed a Special Task Force jeep Wednesday and four people were wounded and hospitalised. A curfew was imposed after the shooting.

Local residents accused the Special Task Force of killing the 10 Muslim men, while the government blamed the Tigers for the massacre. The government on Tuesday ordered an investigation.

Both sides agreed last week to try to salvage a collapsing truce in place since February 2002. More than 1,500 people have died in an upsurge of tit-for-tat violence in the past 10 months.

Tamil rebels have waged a drawn-out insurgency for a separate ethnic homeland in Sri Lanka, a majority Sinhalese nation. More than 60,000 people have died since the re