Sri Lanka’s poll-related violence toll rises to four

A supporter of Sri Lanka’s ruling party was killed in a hand grenade attack on a party office in the country’s northwest Monday, bringing the toll in election-related violence ahead of the presidential poll to four, police said. According to police, the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter was killed in Kurunegala in the evening when the office located close to a deputy minister’s residence came under attack by suspected opposition supporters.

The incident came less than 24 hours after an opposition party activist was clubbed to death in the same district.

The activist with the main opposition United National Party was putting up posters in favour of presidential candidate and former army commander Sarath Fonseka, when he was killed Sunday night in Wariyapola, 90 km northwest of Colombo.

The opposition blamed supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is running for a second term in the Jan 26 elections.

No arrests were made in either incidents.

Last Tuesday, a female UNP supporter was killed when a bus travelling to a party meeting in southern Sri Lanka was sprayed with gunfire, while a youth supporting Rajapaksa was killed in the northwest.

Police and election monitors have said that more than 700 incidents have been reported since nominations were accepted in mid-December.

The election campaign has been stepped up by both main parties in the final week.

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