Sri Lanka's president declared a state of emergency Tuesday amid fears that anti-Muslim attacks in several central hill towns could spread. Picture: Rukmal Gamage/AP

Colombo, Sri Lanka - Residents say anti-Muslim rioting has flared anew in central Sri Lanka despite a state of emergency, with Buddhist mobs burning mosques and Muslim-owned shops in at least two towns.

The police ordered a curfew across much of the region Wednesday for a third day, trying to calm the situation.

An area resident who requested anonymity, fearing reprisal attacks, said two mosques and some Muslim-owned shops were attacked Wednesday in two towns in the central hills. The extent of the damage could not be verified.

Anti-Muslim riots began Monday after a Buddhist Sinhalese man died after reportedly being attacked by a group of Muslim youths.

Sri Lanka's security forces stand near a vandalized building in Digana, a suburb of Kandy. Picture: Pradeep Pathiran/AP
Sri Lankan police officers stand out side a vandalized Buddhist Temple in Poojapitiya, in central Sri Lanka. Picture: Rukmal Gamage/AP

Sri Lankan police officers attempt to douse burning shops in Ambatenna, in central Sri Lanka. Picture: Rukmal Gamage/AP

Sri Lanka has long been divided between the majority Sinhalese, who are overwhelmingly Buddhist, and minority Tamils who are Hindu, Muslim and Christian.