Sri Lanka Brief
NewsThree killed in Sri Lanka election violence

Three killed in Sri Lanka election violence


Charles Haviland
At least three people have been killed and dozens wounded in an outbreak of political violence in Sri Lanka.
In clashes within the governing party, an adviser to the president, a bodyguard and another person were shot dead. Another politician was injured.
The violence was connected to local elections taking place in 23 local authorities including the capital, Colombo, and its suburbs.

There has been mob vandalism and the army is now out in force.

A curfew has been declared in the northern Colombo suburb where a battle took place between locally powerful politicians and their supporters, each backing rival candidates from the governing coalition in Saturday’s local elections.

There was an exchange of fire using automatic assault rifles. The man who was killed with his bodyguard, Bharatha Lakshman, was an adviser to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The man whose faction allegedly killed him, Duminda Silva, is a government MP who works on defence matters under the president’s brother, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Mr Silva was badly injured during the battle and two bullets were removed from his head, but officials say that he is out of danger.

Supporters of Mr Silva are also reported to have taken control of security at the hospital where he was admitted.

The gunfight followed another political killing on Friday.

The violence underlines the fact that, although the government regularly says it defeated terrorism with its war victory, much politics here is underpinned by violence, and government politicians with guns hold sway in various parts of the country.

Four Rajapaksa brothers and the president’s son all wield great political power in Sri Lanka’s governing establishment.


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