Riot police and army troops have been deployed in southern Sri Lanka following an outbreak of violence between Buddhists and Muslims, and a curfew has been imposed for the second night running.

Nineteen people were arrested when clashes erupted in Galle province, after a traffic accident.

Homes and businesses were attacked and several properties damaged.

Authorities say the sectarian violence has now been brought under control.

"Additional police battalions, the police Special Task Force, the anti-riot squad and the military were called in last night to bring the situation under control," Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said in a statement.

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