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Blast targets Sri Lanka opposition activist in Colombo

[BBC, Friday, 22 January 2010 10:11 No Comment]

The vote is taking place amid increased levels of violence There has been an explosion at the home of an opposition activist in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, days ahead of a presidential election, police say.

The blast destroyed the car and damaged the home of Tiran Alles, an ally of candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka. Mr Alles and his family escaped unhurt.

Earlier this week the United Nations expressed concern over escalating violence ahead of the 26 January poll.

The vote pits Sri Lanka’s ex-army chief against President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Gen Sarath Fonseka resigned from his post as chief of defence staff in November following differences with the government over who should take credit for defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels last May.

Violence

The vote is taking place amid heightened tension. Increasing levels of violence has marked the run-up to the election.

At least four people have been killed in poll-related violence in the weeks leading up to the election.

Sri Lankan groups monitoring the presidential election campaign say the levels of election-related violence and misuse of state resources are at their worst for at least 20 years.

Scores of people have also been wounded in the violence, with more than 20 instances of firearms used or deployed as a threat, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

The Sri Lankan army defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels last May, ending 26 years of civil war.

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