Home » News

Explosion hits Sri Lanka opposition financier’s home

[Reuters, Friday, 22 January 2010 15:01 No Comment]

An explosion hit the home of a financier of opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka on Friday, amid increasing violence before a close presidential election next week.

The elections commissioner said that police and soldiers would be on guard to ensure people could cast their votes safely.

"Violence is nothing new to this country. It has been occurring all the time during campaigns," Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told reporters. "I’m not worried. Only the contestants are worried."

Four people have been killed already in attacks leading up to the Tuesday’s presidential vote, in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa has seen his seemingly insuperable popularity fade with Fonseka’s entry into the race.

Earlier in the day, the residence of Tiran Alles, a wealthy businessman who split from President Mahinda Rajapaksa after supporting him in the 2005 election, was bombed by an unidentified group.

"There was an explosion at my house. Somebody threw a bomb, and part of my house was burnt and my car is in ashes," Alles, who along with his family was unhurt in the blast, told Reuters.

Police said they were investigating, but had no suspects.

The United Nations, United States and the European Union have all urged an end to violence surrounding Sri Lanka’s first presidential poll since the end of a 25-year war with the Tamil Tiger separatists.

Fonseka led the army to victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May, and he launched his campaign with a motley coalition of political parties backing him for the sole purpose of defeating Rajapaksa.

The president and his former army commander fell out, with Fonseka accusing Rajapaksa of unjustly sidelining him over unfounded coup fears.

The government has said that it expected Fonseka’s campaign to carry out some kind of staged attack to garner sympathy for his campaign.

But the government on Friday condemned the attack and other earlier ones, and said it was tightening security ahead of the vote.

"We are wholly committed to ensuring a free, peaceful and democratic election in every part of our country. These isolated incidents will not be allowed to affect this goal," a statement from the president’s office said.

Election monitors in late December raised concerns about the majority of 300,000 Tamil refugees losing their voting rights. but the elections commissioner said all displaced could cast their vote.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.