01/22/2010, 00.00
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Colombo; bomb attack against the home of an opposition leader

Car destroyed and house damaged of Tiran Alles, a rich Sinhalese businessman and among the most important allies of General Fonseka. Man and family members not wounded. Spokesman for the opposition: the attack was the work of the allies of President Rajapaksa.

Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An armed commando attacked the home of one of the leaders of the opposition in Sri Lanka, raising tensions ahead of presidential elections on 26 January. A bomb destroyed the car and part of the house owned by Tiran Alles, a rich Sinhalese businessman and among the most important allies of General Fonseka, who will contend Mahinda Rajapaksa for the leadership of the country.  

The attack occurred shortly before dawn this morning in Colombo, despite the massive deployment of security forces to prevent violence. The bomb caused severe damage to Alles’ property (former ally of the 2005Rajapaksa's presidential race), but the man and his family were not injured. Police have launched investigations to trace the perpetrators of the act. "It is likely that the attackers – says an officer - arrived on board a van, made the attack and fled."  

According to a spokesman for the opposition, the attempt on Alles is the work of the allies of President Rajapaksa. It would be a response to the publication by the supporters of Fonseka, of a photo of the eldest son of the outgoing President, Namal, accompanied by a Tamil rebel leader in a nightclub in London. "Since the photo began to circulate – says the spokesman - and links between the presidential family and the Tamil Tigers are emerging, Alles has received death threats."

In recent days, a report published by Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) showed a detailed list of fights, targeted attacks against political rivals, homicide and accidents, many caused by supporters of the current President Rajapaksa.  

The situation of war refugees in the north, the freedom of the press and targeted attacks against non aligned journalists, the national economy and widespread pockets of poverty are among the many unsolved problems in the country

Rajapaksa has called early elections, taking advantage of popular consensus achieved through the defeat of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in May last year. The opposition parties, in contrast, sponsor General Fonseka as a "war hero" and true architect of victory over separatist rebels in the north.  

However, at the political level between the two leaders it seems there are very few differences, and competition is centred on the personal charisma of the two. It has contributed to a more violent political climate. Rajapaksa is also accused of using state media to promote his campaign.
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