An alert for British travellers to Sri Lanka was issued yesterday after violence triggered a state of emergency across the country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office altered its travel advice after the Sri Lankan government announced a nationwide state of emergency in response to recent incidents of inter-communal violence in Ampara and Kandy.

Riots were reported in the central district of Kandy following days of unrest between Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

The special measures initially apply for ten days and allow soldiers to be deployed on the streets.

“The state of emergency may include curfews in specific locations across the country,” the FCO said.

“You should exercise caution, avoid protests and rallies, and comply with local security requirements.”

Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the violence in the town “appeared to be systemic and organised” and promised the government would take stern action, The Guardian reported

In a tweet, he said the government condemns “racist and violent acts” that have taken place over the last few days.

“A state of emergency has been declared and we will not hesitate to take further action,” he added.

The Indian Ocean island nation has been trying to rebuild its tourism industry after a devastating 28-year-civil war between the government and Tamil separatists in the north.

The last state of emergency, in place throughout the war, was allowed to lapse in November 2011.