Sri Lanka crisis: Former minister's guard opens fire on mob, 1 killed

Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lankan President
The political crises in Sri Lanka took an ugly turn on Sunday when bodyguards of Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, a loyalist of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, fired live rounds at the supporters of the new premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, leaving one person dead.

Two others were hospitalised in the shooting incident and a security personnel was arrested at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) premises in Dematagoda following a tense situation on Sunday, police said.

The incident took place when the cricketer-turned-politician visited the CPC office, with several Ceylon Petroleum Corporation workers objecting to his presence at the office.

When Ranatunga entered the building the supporters of the new prime minister Rajapaksa took exception to him visiting the office and shouted slogans.

When they were not allowed to move out, shots were fired which injured three persons. Unconfirmed reports said that two of Ranatunga’s security personnel have been arrested. Ranatunga is a supporter of Wickremesinghe who was sacked by Sirisena. Wickremesinghe holds his sacking was illegal and unconstitutional. Earlier in the day, Parliament’s Speaker Karu Jayasuriya recognised Wickremesinghe as the country’s prime minister.

Sri Lanka is facing a political crisis after President Sirisena sacked prime minister Wickremesinghe on Friday, and appointed former strongman Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.

A new caretaker government is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

In his first address to the nation after the dramatic events of Friday night, Sirisena said Wickremesinghe was sacked due to his “arrogant” behaviour, and asserted that Rajapaksa has been made the new premier in strict accordance with the Constitution.

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