In the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings, Muslim refugees have fled from the coastal city of Negombo where communal tensions have flared in recent days.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Pakistani Muslims fled the multi-ethnic port an hour north of the capital, Colombo. Crammed into buses organised by community leaders and police, they left fearing for their safety after threats of revenge from locals, reported the Reuters.
“Because of the bomb blasts and explosions that have taken place here, the local Sri Lankan people have attacked our houses,” Adnan Ali, a Pakistani Muslim, told Reuters as he prepared to board a bus. “Right now we don’t know where we will go.”
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, yet despite the group being a Sunni group, many of the Muslims fleeing Negombo belong to the Ahmadi community, who had been hounded out of Pakistan years ago after their sect was declared non-Muslim.
The fallout from Sunday’s attacks appears set to render them homeless once more. Farah Jameel, a Pakistani Ahmadi, said she had been thrown out of her house by her landlord.
“She said ‘get out of here and go wherever you want to go, but don’t live here’,” she told Reuters, gathered with many others at the Ahmadiyya Mosque, waiting for buses to take them to a safe location.
Recently, The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombings.
The video, purportedly from Al Ghuraba Media, which is not an official IS channel but is believed to be run by supporters of IS, featured the chilling message, “This bloody day is our reward to you.”
Earlier, the Deputy Defence Minister of Sri Lanka had said that the attacks were carried out ‘in retaliation of Christchurch’.
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told parliament.
50 people were killed in New Zealand’s Christchurch in a attack on two mosques recently.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Sri Lanka has risen to 310 and more than 40 people have been arrested. on April 22, Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the bombings were carried out by a local group identified as the National Thowheed Jamaath, without elaborating on evidence.