Sri Lanka capital under security net after fatal blasts

Soldiers patrolled a restive northeast Sri Lankan town Thursday after fatal bombings and subsequent ethnic clashes killed 16 people, prompting authorities to impose a curfew on the town and boost security in the capital.

Army and navy units were deployed to Trincomalee to enforce the indefinite curfew and curb the violence that erupted after the blasts rocked the port town on Wednesday, killing seven people, including two policemen and a soldier, and wounding two others.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the blasts and it was not immediately known who started the mob violence, which left nine other people dead, according to doctors and the military.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and there has been no new attacks since last night," said Nihal Samarakoon, the senior superintendent of police in Trincomalee on Thursday.

Some 400 extra policemen also were posted in the capital, Colombo, as a precautionary measure, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Armed policemen, some sitting inside police jeeps, were posted at several road intersections, where they stopped some vehicles to check the identity of occupants.

But hours later of the Trincomalee incidents, violence was reported from the eastern city of Batticaloa, another hotbed of violence, where a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel opened fire on two Sri Lankan army personnel outside their base, injuring both of them, the military reported on its Web site Thursday.

One of the men was a senior officer and the other a soldier, the military said, reports the AP.


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