UNP supporters shot at in Kotahena one killed

The shooting incident claimed the first victim of the 2015 Parliamentary election.Meanwhile the CMEV election monitoring group said that at 11.30 am today, a shooting incident was reported at Bloemendal Road in front of the St. Benedict College grounds in Kotahena. A group of United National Party (UNP) supporters were shot at in the Kotahena area this morning killing one woman and injuring several others.The UNP supporters were engaged in campaigning activities in support of former UNP MP and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake when gunmen travelling in 2 vehicles had opened fire. He said that the shooting incident took place near the St. Benedict grounds at Bloemendhal Road in Kotahena. Rajiv Seneviratne the Campaign Manager for the United National Party speaking to CMEV from Srikotha party headquarters confirmed that the incident had taken place while Ravi Karunanayake was canvasing with his supporters. The minister was not injured in the attack.It has also been reported that 500 individuals were present when the incident took place. CMEV can also confirm that one individual has been confirmed dead, 12 supporters have been injured, 5 critically and currently in the ICU.The name of the victim has been reported as Ms. S. Maheema of Madampitiya, Colombo 15, a UNP supporter. The attack last for 10 minute, the perpetrators were reported to be clad in black and had arrived in 2 black hybrid cars without number plates. Police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said that one woman was killed in the shooting incident and at least 12 others were injured and rushed to hospital. Furthermore 16 bullet casings have been found at the location, according to police sources. (Colombo Gazette) read more

UN condemns unspeakable attack that leaves scores dead in central Mali

“We condemn in the strongest terms this unspeakable attack,” said François Delattre, France’s UN Ambassador speaking as President of the UN Security Council at a press conference Saturday evening in the Malian capital, Bamako.A Council delegation has been in the country since late last week as part of a mission to Africa’s troubled Sahel region. The trip will wrap up tomorrow in Burkina Faso.Located in Mali’s central Mopti region, the village of Ogossou-Peulh was attacked on Saturday morning, reportedly by armed men dressed as traditional hunters.Calling the attack an act of “unspeakable barbarity,” Kakou Houadja Leon Adom, the Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to the UN and co-organizer with France and Germany of the Council’s Mali visit, expressed condolences to the families of the victims , as well as to the people and the Government.Meanwhile, a UN spokesperson said Secretary-General António Guterres was “shocked and outraged” by reports that at least 134 civilians, including women and children, were killed and at least 55 had been injured in the attack.“The Secretary-General condemns this act and calls on the Malian authorities to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice,” according to a statement, which added that the UN chief expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, the Malian people and Government, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. The Secretary-General called on the Malian authorities to “redouble their efforts to bring back peace and stability to central Mali.”In a separate statement condemning the attack, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Head of UN integrated mission, MINUSMA, called for an end to the spiral of violence in Mali and reported that as part of the mission’s civilian protection mandate, a rapid response force had been deployed to the scene. The mission was also working to ensure the wounded were evacuated to the nearby town of Sévaré, he added.“This unspeakable tragedy…unfortunately reminds us that the challenges [in central Mali] are many,” he said, calling on the Malian authorities to launch an investigation “so that justice is done and the perpetrators of this atrocity answer for their actions.”Deadly violence on the rise in Mopti regionThe Mopti region has been the scene of deadly violence since the beginning of the year.Last Sunday, the camp of the Malian Armed Forces (FAMAs) in the village of Dioura suffered an attack in which several of its soldiers were killed. On 26 February, 10 people from the Dogon community were killed in an attack on the village of Gondogourou. Further, on 1 January, 37 people were executed in the Fulani village of Kulogon by unidentified armed elements.At the press conference, Ambassador Delattre recalled, in the context of a recent Security Council resolution extending MINUSMA until the end of June, that the question of central Mali was an integral part of the mandate of the UN peace operation.“MINUSMA is to support the Malian State through the protection of civilians,” he said in response to a question from a journalist.The situation in central Mali was at the heart of the various meetings that members of the Security Council had in Bamako. “The unanimous message [we received] is that it is essential to break this negative dynamic between the different communities, and to do everything to try and recreate a virtuous circle,” said Ambassador Delattre. read more