Photograph: Hiran Priyankara for the Sunday Times.
Sri Lanka’s police claimed to have seized a haul of high powered explosives and arrested at least four men who are accused of belonging to “a radicalised local group of Muslims”.
The discovery was reportedly made as the police were investigating the vandalism of Buddha statues on the island.
"Following information received by the CID (Criminal Investigations Department), they found 100kilos of high explosives and 100 detonators," Sri Lankan police said in a statement. The CID claimed to have also found 20 litres of nitrate acid, wire codes, two firearms, a stock of ammunition, a computer, a camera and a stock of dry rations.
"The information we have at the moment is that a radicalised local group of Muslims are behind the explosives seized on Thursday," an official who asked to remain anonymous told AFP.
"We are trying to see if they had any links with extremists abroad.”
Police have reportedly obtained an order granting them 90 days to interrogate the four men.
The Sri Lankan government had previously armed several Muslim groups as part of its war effort.
Sinhala attacks on Muslim villagers and places of worship have since flared however, with numerous reported assaults and vandalism cases.
As tensions between the two communities persist, Sri Lanka’s prime minister pledged to take action against those who vandalised Buddha statues in the Kegalle district earlier this month.