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Sri Lankan corporals arrested on anti-Muslim riot charges

  • Published at 10:32 pm April 11th, 2018
Sri Lankan corporals arrested on anti-Muslim riot charges

Sri Lankan police have arrested two army corporals for their suspected involvement in anti-Muslim riots in the central highlands district of Kandy last month, police said on Tuesday.

It was the first arrest of serving soldiers for the worst sectarian violence since 2014. It was not immediately clear if any more senior officers are suspected. At least two ex-military officials have also been arrested.

Scores of mosques, Muslim homes and businesses were destroyed as Buddhist mobs ran amok for three days early last month in Kandy, a district previously known for its diversity and tolerance.

An officer at the police spokesman's office told Reuters 342 suspects have been arrested. The corporals were arrested on Monday.

Muslims comprise about nine percent of Sri Lanka's population of 21 million. Buddhists make up about 70% and Hindus about 13%.

The government ended a full-blown 26-year civil war by defeating mostly Hindu Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels in 2009, with claims of atrocities on both sides.