Hundreds of people have been terrorised out of their homes by angry mobs after the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka, Sky News has been told.
Pakistani and Afghan migrants say they were threatened with death if they stayed in their homes in the town of Negombo.
“When we came outside the people were waiting for us with sticks and knives,” one man told Sky News.
Another described his son being beaten for being Pakistani. They were among more than 100 who have fled to the safety of the town’s police station.
We found them exhausted and traumatised there, camping out where they could on the floor of the station garage.
Ironically, many are Pakistani Christians but that did not save them from the angry Christian Sri Lankan crowds hounding them out of their homes.
They are now refugees twice over, forced to flee their home countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan and now displaced again.
The greatest loss of life in Sunday’s attacks happened at Negombo’s Catholic Church, and feelings are running high.
Another 250 people have sought sanctuary at the town’s mosque, we were told.
In the town centre, shops owned by Muslims are shuttered and some of them boarded after windows were smashed with stones.
This was exactly what the suicide bombers and their commanders had in mind when they planned these attacks.
In a country which is no stranger to sectarian unrest, they sought to exploit divisions. In Negombo, they appear to have been successful.
As the sky over Negombo blackened with the first of the monsoon rains, the air was thickening with tension.
The fever may break and sectarian friction may subside, but it could equally develop into something much worse.