One dead in Sri Lanka shooting as political crisis deepens

Sri Lankan soldiers walk outside the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resisted moves to evict him from his official residence, defiantly summoning allies for a crisis meeting as a thousand supporters stood guard. (AFP pic)

COLOMBO: One man died and two others were injured when shots were fired Sunday in Sri Lanka, as a constitutional crisis over the shock sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe turned violent.

Bodyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired live rounds as a mob loyal to Sri Lanka’s president besieged the cabinet member in his office, police said.

One of those shot in the melee, a 34-year-old man, died shortly after being admitted to the Colombo National, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

It was the first report of serious violence since Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on Friday and installed former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse as the new prime minister, triggering political chaos.