Sri Lanka policeman beaten to death
Colombo - A policeman was beaten to death by a Muslim mob in north-western Sri Lanka where clashes between residents and security forces have been reported over the past week, officials said on Monday.
The policeman on traffic duty was hit with iron rods and poles late on Sunday in Puttalam, 180km north of Colombo.
"Two unarmed policemen encountered a Muslim mob," a senior police official said. "One of them had run away, and the other was attacked without any provocation."
Witnesses said the mob blamed the police for a spate of recent incidents in which unknown men entered villages and harassed women.
Hours earlier, unknown assailants entered a village near Puttalam and injured five people, including a woman and child, with gunfire.
On Friday night, a woman claimed that attackers entered her home and scratched her with a sharp instrument.
More than 2 000 Muslims gathered near the mosque in Puttalam after Sunday's attack, but soldiers opened fire to keep the crowd away.
Several clashes between security forces and Muslims living in coastal areas have been reported this month.
The army killed one person in a Muslim crowd on August 12 in the south-eastern village of Potuvil. The local people claimed intruders were sexually harassing village women.
On August 15, Muslims protested in the north-eastern village of Kinniya, claiming three unknown people had been found in the village at night and later escaped into a navy camp in the area.
Villagers burned tyres and held a government official hostage for hours until several people previously arrested were released.