Ranatunga ‘feared for his life’ in Colombo violence
Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has said he “feared for his life” after becoming the first high profile figure to be caught up in violence, in Sri Lanka’s unfolding political crisis.
One person has died from injuries after Ranatunga’s security detail opened fire during the clash at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) office building in the Dematagoda neighbourhood of Colombo. Two more have been hospitalised.
“They came to kill me – I state this responsibly – and you can check the CCTV footage,” Ranatunga said following the clash. “For the first time, I feared for my life. I thought of my children and my family.”
Ranatunga, who until Friday was the country’s Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, said he was attacked by a mob as he attempted to retrieve belongings from the Ceypetco office on Sunday. He had had to be extracted from the building by Special Task Force – elite police – officers. The crowd outside the premises is understood to have been aligned with the opposite political party. Dozens of regular police officers were later deployed to pacify the crowd.
Ranatunga first stood for office in 2001, and has held various cabinet portfolios since. He is a member of the United National Party, whose leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe, is in the midst of the ongoing political wrangle.