close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
November 17, 2019

Gunmen fire on buses carrying Muslim Sri Lankan voters

Top Story

AFP
November 17, 2019

COLOMBO: Gunmen fired at buses carrying minority Muslim voters on Saturday as Sri Lankans elected a new president, with the powerful Rajapaksa clan eyeing a comeback seven months after Islamist extremists carried out deadly bombings on the island.

Minority Tamils and Muslims are seen as crucial in the close election, and the attack in the northwest of the island—in which no one was injured—was likely aimed at deterring people from voting.

The assailants set fire to tyres on the road and set up makeshift roadblocks before shooting at and pelting with stones two vehicles in the convoy of more than 100 buses, police said. After casting ballots there were given an armed escort back home.

In the Tamil-dominated northern peninsula of Jaffna, meanwhile, police said they arrested 10 men they suspected of “trying to create trouble”, while also complaining that the army had illegally set up roadblocks that could stop people getting to polling stations. Such tactics are nothing new in Sri Lanka, which emerged from a horrific civil war only a decade ago. At the 2015 election, there was a series of explosions in the north.

Supporters from rival parties meanwhile clashed in a tea plantation area 90 kilometres east of the capital Colombo, with two people taken to hospital with knife wounds, the election commission said.

Some 85,000 police were on duty for the election with a record 35 candidates running for president, an office with considerable power similar to the French political system, with close to 16 million eligible voters.

Results could come as early as midday (0630 GMT) on Sunday (today) if there is a clear winner.Nationwide preliminary figures for voter turnout appeared to be similar to 2015 when it was 81.5 per cent. Voting ended at 5:00 pm (1130 GMT).

One of the two frontrunners is grey-haired retired army lieutenant colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, younger brother to the charismatic but controversial Mahinda Rajapaksa, president from 2005-15.

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus