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Ranatunga arrested over fatal shooting


COLOMBO: Police arres­ted Sri Lanka’s petroleum minister and former cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga , a day after a man was killed when bodyguards opened fire to rescue him from a group loyal to the country’s president.

Ranatunga, captain of Sri Lanka’s 1996 cricket World Cup winning side and an ally of ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, was taken in after trade unions accused him of ordering the shooting.


Sunday’s shooting was the first since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe, plunging the country into a constitutional crisis.

A police spokesman said the minister was arrested following complaints from petroleum unions that it was the minister who had ordered the shooting.

Unions went on strike on Monday in protest over the shooting, sparking long que­ues for fuel at gas stations.

Ranatunga’s office said hundreds of people gathered at the ministry on Sunday when the minister appeared, beating his staff and trying to take him hostage.

“When they tried to break open his office door and capture him, commandos came to rescue him,” his spokesman said.

One of Ranatunga’s bodyguards, a policeman, opened fire.

Three people were struck and a 34-year-old man died in hospital.

The bodyguard was arrested and is still being held.