A MOB in Sri Lanka have stabbed a man to death, attacked Mosques and burnt homes and businesses, in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks.
More than 250 people were killed when nine suicide bombers attacked churches, where Christians were attending Easter Mass, and luxury hotels packed with tourists.
The Sri Lankan government has named local jihadi terror group the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) as being responsible for the horrific attacks.
Anti-Muslim violence flared up on Sunday in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean island with mobs reportedly moving from town to town.
In the town of Kottampitiya about a dozen people had arrived in taxis and attacked Muslim-owned stores with stones just after midday on Monday.
The mob soon swelled to 200 and then 1,000 forcing local Muslims to flee for their lives to paddy fields as mosques and Korans were burnt.
A man died from stab wounds after a mob attacked his business in Puttalam District, also in the north-west of the country.
Local Muslims have spoken of coming under attack from the mob.
Abdul Bari, 48, said his small brick shop had been burnt down with a petrol bomb adding: "The attackers were on motorbikes, armed with rods and swords.”
Some blamed the police for failing to disperse the crowd.
ARMED WITH SWORDS
"The police were watching. They were in the street, they didn't stop anything. They told us to go inside," said Mohamed Faleel, 47, who runs a car paint business.
"We asked police, we said stop them. They didn't fire. They had to stop this, but they didn't.”
Sri Lankan soldiers in armoured vehicles patrolled towns hit by sectarian violence as the authorities insisted the situation was under control.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera rejected allegations that police had stood by while the violence unfolded and said the perpetrators would be punished.
"All police officers have been instructed to take stern action against the violators, even to use the maximum force. Perpetrators could face up to a 10-year jail term," he said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said late on Monday he had given powers to the security forces to take strong action against those responsible for anti-Muslim violence.
Muslims form nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 22 million people who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists, with a sprinkling of minority Hindus and Christians.
Most Muslims are concentrated in the east, with scattered pockets in the west.
The United Nations issued a statement warning that unless swift action is taken, the violence against Muslims could spiral out of control.
“If not adequately dealt with, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further," said the UN.
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