WARRING gangs armed with deadly weapons including a Samurai sword wrecked a tsunami benefit concert at Walthamstow Assembly Hall.

Two men were rushed to hospital after the violence erupted at the event organised by the East London Tamil Youth Association last Sunday afternoon.

A 50-strong mob of youths battled each other in front of Waltham Forest Town Hall and the Assembly Hall.

Detectives say the fight was a revenge attack by an East Ham Tamil gang against a Walthamstow-based group.

Officers rushed to the scene at 5.30pm after calls from concerned onlookers. When they arrived they found weapons including a pistol, hockey sticks and cricket bats littering the car park.

A 19-year-old youth from Walthamstow was rushed to hospital with head injuries, Detective Sergeant Andy Petty, leading the investigation, said the youth was lucky to escape with his life. It is believed the injuries could have been caused by a Samurai sword.

Another youth was also admitted to hospital with injuries to his hand, believed to have been caused by a blade.

Mr Petty said: "We do not know what weapon was used to cause the head injuries but it has been suggested that it may have been a Samurai sword. The young man is to have plastic surgery and has suffered very serious injuries."

He was unable to confirm whether either of the gangs have links with the notorious Tamil Tigers but confirmed there is tension across London in the Sri Lankan Tamil communities.

"A violent incident happened in East Ham last week and we believe the attack on Sunday may have been a retribution fight," Mr Petty said.

Five men were arrested at the scene and have been released on bail pending further inquiries. They will appear at a London police station on May 10.

Anyone with more information should contact Mr Petty on 020 8345 3166 or to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A council spokeswoman reassured the community that the tsunami remembrance and fundraising event to be held tonight at the Assembly Hall will go ahead as advertised. The official event, organised by the council and Waltham Forest Faith Communities, starts at 6.30pm.

The spokeswoman said: "The event on Sunday was organised by an independent group and had nothing to do with the remembrance event planned by the council and Faith Communities."