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Political campaigner killed in Sri Lanka shooting

Published 31/07/2015

A police officer inspects the site of a gun attack in Colombo, Sri Lanka (AP)
A police officer inspects the site of a gun attack in Colombo, Sri Lanka (AP)

One person has died after gunmen opened fire at campaign workers in Sri Lanka's capital in the first major political violence before the parliamentary election.

A further 13 people were injured in the attack in Colombo, police and hospital officials said.

The workers were campaigning for finance minister Ravi Karunanayake of the United National Party.

Mr Karunanayake blamed supporters of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa for the attack but an opposition politician in Mr Rajapaksa's party said the shooting was the result of gang warfare.

The politician, Dilan Perera, said a gang supporting Mr Karunanayake had been targeted by a rival gang. Mr Karunanayake denied the allegation.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said that unidentified gunmen shot at the campaign workers from a vehicle and fled the scene. He said police investigations are under way to arrest the culprits.

Colombo National Hospital director Dr Anil Jasinghe said one woman was brought dead to the hospital and 13 people are being treated for gunshot wounds.

Mr Rajapaksa lost the presidential election in January but is contesting for prime minister in the August 17 parliamentary election. If he wins, he will be a step away from reclaiming the presidency.

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