COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, June 16 (UPI) -- Clashes between Muslims and Buddhists on the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka prior to a Sunday curfew killed at least three people and injured 80.
Buddhist mobs attacked Muslim-owned homes and businesses in the resort town of Aluthgama, the violence spreading to the neighboring town of Lathugana. The violence began after a rally organized by an extremist political organization known as the Buddhist Force, or Bodu Bala Sena.
"At least nine shops and up to 40 houses have been gutted in Aluthgama, while three mosques were attacked. Some Buddhists are deliberately targeting Muslims. But unfortunately police have not been able to protect the minorities," said Hilmy Ahmed, spokesman of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka.
Police were blamed for not protecting the Muslim community.
There were no reports of injuries of damage at the hotels catering to tourists.
Muslim legislators, several weeks ago, urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a Theravada Buddhist, to protect the country's Muslim minority population from Buddhist extremists. Rajapaksa tweeted about the latest incidents on Sunday.
An investigation will be held for law to take its course of action to bring to book those responsible for incidents in Aluthgama. -MR (2/2)— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) June 15, 2014