Video exposes security forces collusion in Sri Lanka anti Muslim riots

Members of Sri Lanka’s police and military forces collaborating with mobs in vandalizing a mosque in north western Sri Lanka have been caught on video.

CCTV footage obtained by JDS shows army soldiers and policemen with firearms joining with mobs attacking the Muhiddeen Jumma Masjid in Thummodera Nattandiya on Monday (13), while a curfew was in force.

Following widespread violence that claimed the life of a Muslim carpenter, authorities declared a province wide curfew from 5 pm on 13 May.

The CCTV recording from the mosque shows an army soldier apparently calling the mob towards the premises with a hand signal around 6.45 pm.

In less than a minute later, at least three policemen and five soldiers can be seen among the mob that started pelting the windows with stones.

Military vehicles

A member of the Jumma Masjid administrative council speaking under conditions of strict anonymity confirmed the authenticity of the footage.

“The soldiers were transported to the premises by a military vehicle,” he told JDS by phone.

After smashing the windows, the mob has moved with the security force members to the adjoining Muslim locality.

“The mob of about 400 went through the lane behind the Jumma Masjid. They attacked the Masjid ul Umar mosque and set fire to several homes. About 14 to 15 homes were damaged.”

He said that the villagers are now living in fear.

“How can we be safe when those who are supposed to be providing security are the same people who terrorise us?”


This is not the first time that members of Sri Lanka security forces were seen in attacks against Muslim civilians. 

Video footage obtained by JDS more than a year ago shows Police Special Task Force (STF) members in uniform assaulting two Muslim men with clubs in the central hills.

The assault at the Jummah Masjid mosque in Hijrapura, Digana was in March during an anti-Muslim riot.

No action has been taken to bring the suspect troops to justice, while the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is yet to publish its findings of an investigation conducted in the aftermath of the riots.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.