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02 March 2024

Six killed in Sri Lanka gang violence


Six people were killed in two incidents of apparently gang-related violence in Sri Lanka on Friday, police said, despite a tough crackdown ordered last week.

Five were found burned to death in a van on a remote stretch of road outside Colombo, their bodies too charred to be easily identified.

"This looks like some kind of revenge attack," a senior police official told AFP.

"An investigation is under way to identify the victims. We suspect this has something to do with gang rivalry."

In a separate incident, gunmen burst into a home in the island's south and opened fire, killing a woman and wounding her husband, police said.

No arrests have yet been made over the deaths, which come days after President Maithripala Sirisena drafted in the military to help tackle a surge in gang-related shootings.

Security forces have been asked to conduct joint operations with the police to dismantle crime networks responsible for drug smuggling and extortion rackets.

Police have also re-introduced road blocks, a common sight during the decades-long Tamil separatist war that ended in May 2009.