Shooting in Sri Lanka injures three opposition activists

Shooting in Sri Lanka injures three opposition activists

HomeAsia-PacificMore Tue Jan 6, 2015 5:38AM

Gunmen have shot and injured three opposition activists working for the main rival of Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse in the town of Kahawatta, south of the capital Colombo.

The opposition United National Party (UNP) activists were targeted on Monday in a drive-by shooting as they were setting up a stage for an election rally for candidate Maithripala Sirisena on the final day of campaigning.

“A vehicle convoy approached the site and at least one person travelling in one of the vehicles opened fire wounding three people,” police spokesman, Ajith Rohana said.

“We have information about the identity of attackers and we are trying to make arrests,” he added.

According to the police, the wounded activists were transferred to Ratnapura Hospital, with one in critical condition.

Following the incident, UNP supporters attacked a nearby party office belonging to the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance in a retaliatory move.

Last December, the private Campaign for Free and Fair Elections monitoring group said it had received more than a thousand complaints and warned of escalating violence across Sri Lanka ahead of the presidential election.

President Rajapaksa first took office in 2005 and won re-election in 2010 thanks to support he received for leading a military offensive to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sirisena, Rajapaksa’s main opponent in the January 8 presidential election, has promised an investigation into the Tamil killings.

Tamils account for about 15 percent of the population in Sri Lanka and usually vote together. They will be kingmakers if, as seems likely, the majority Sinhalese community is split down the middle between Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

Sri Lanka’s main Muslim party has also left the government of the incumbent president and expressed support for the opposition.

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