Muslim mobs in Bangladesh continued to attack Buddhist temples and homes over Facebook photos deemed to be offensive to Islam.
At least six temples, including statues of Lord Buddha, were attacked by thousands of protesters in the resort region of Cox’s Bazaar on Sunday.
The violence began on Saturday night when a mob of 25,000 ran riot in the village of Ramu after claims a young Buddhist man had posted Facebook photos defaming the Koran.
Local police chief Najibul Islam told AFP that one photo on the now-blocked account showed a woman standing on an open Koran, while another showed a page of the holy book being flushed down the toilet.
The 30-year-old man at the centre of the accusations has gone into hiding after telling local media he did not post the picture on the social media site, insisting someone else had "tagged" him in images on Facebook.
The unrest over the images has spread to at least five towns and a dozen villages. Troops have been sent in to guard Buddhist areas.
Sunil Barua, a journalist who lives in a Buddhist neighbourhood in Ramu, said two of the temples attacked over the weekend were 300 years old.
"They looted Buddha statues from the temples and shops owned by Buddhists," he told AFP by phone.
"The villages look like as if they were hit by a major cyclone."
Bangladesh's Interior Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said the attacks appeared to be "premeditated and a deliberate act of communal violence".
Sectarian tensions have been running high since June when deadly clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Muslims have staged protests against a US-made anti-Islam film mocking the Prophet Mohammed.