Sri Lanka crisis worsens as ex-minister’s guard opens fire, wounding three

COLOMBO,  (Reuters) – The security guard of a minister in the sacked Sri Lankan government opened fire at an office today wounding three people, worsening a constitutional crisis in the island nation days after the president ousted the prime minister and appointed a new one.

Police said the guard began shooting as Arjuna Ranatunga, petroleum minister in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, tried to enter his office at the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp.

Wickremesinghe maintains he is still prime minister.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters the guard had been arrested and an investigation launched. Ranatunga was safe but the security guard’s motive was not immediately clear, he added.

The tiny South Asian country off the southern tip of India plunged into political turmoil late on Friday after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe and swore in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as his replacement.

Arjuna Ranatunga

On Saturday, Sirisena ordered to suspend parliament until Nov. 16, in a move widely seen as an attempt to stop Wickremesinghe from trying to prove he maintains a parliamentary majority.

Security has been tightened around key government institutions as trade unions linked to Rajapaksa’s political party have blocked access to some Wickremesinghe-party ministers entering their respective ministries.

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