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Gunmen fire on buses carrying Sri Lankan voters

AFP
Filed on November 16, 2019 | Last updated on November 16, 2019 at 07.51 am
gunmen, bus, sri lanka, voters, muslim, casualties, elections, lanka

(Reuters file)

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Gunmen opened fire on a convoy of buses carrying Muslim voters in northwest Sri Lanka on Saturday, hours before polling in presidential elections got under way, police said 

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but a police official said the attackers had burnt tyres on the road and set up makeshift road blocks to ambush the convoy of more than 100 vehicles.

"The gunmen opened fire and also pelted stones," a police official in Tantirimale, 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Colombo said. "At least two buses were hit, but we have no reports of casualties."

Muslims from the coastal town of Puttalam were travelling to the neighbouring district of Mannar, where they were registered to vote, the police official said.

Police reinforcements rushed to the area and cleared the obstructions on the road and escorted the convoy so that passengers could cast their ballots.

Police reported to the independent Election Commission that the army was illegally manning roadblocks that could discourage residents from freely travelling to polling booths on Saturday.

"After bringing to the notice of the army that the road blocks were illegal at a time of a national election, they have dismantled them," police said in a statement.

Police sources said they had also warned local military commanders that any disruption to the election would be reported to courts and offenders prosecuted.

 


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