Sri Lanka's minority Muslims attended Friday May 17th prayers, as heavily armed troops and police guarded all mosques, including those badly vandalized in riots in the wake of the Easter terror attacks.
Police said security would remain tight over the weekend both for a major Buddhist festival, as well as the tenth anniversary of the ending of the country's decades-long Tamil separatist war, AFP has reported.
Clerics said some of the damaged mosques cleared out glass shards, and other debris and conducted services with attendance at a high level.
"We had about 450 to 500 people," said M. I. M. Siddeeque, the trustee of the riot-hit Kinyama mosque, in the worst affected North-Western Province, speaking to AFP by telephone.
"There were six soldiers outside the mosques and many more police at the top of the road."
Siddeeque said his mosque was cleared of the debris, but windows, furniture and the public address system were yet to be replaced.
In the town of Minuwangoda, the faithful packed the first floor of the two-storeyed Hujjaj mosque to pray even though repairs were yet to begin.
Local residents said Buddhists and Catholic priests were also present as a sign of solidarity with Muslims community.
The riots came three weeks after suicide bomb attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo, killing 258 people. The April 21st attack was blamed on a local jihadi group.