ECONOMYNEXT - Machine gun-wielding masked gunmen sprayed bullets at supporters in an act of political terror killing at least one person, when he was canvassing for votes at upcoming polls in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
He said a crackdown on smuggling of narcotics following a change in administration in January had enraged backers of the former administration.
"It was an act of political terror," Karunanayake told reporters. "We now call a thief a thief and we have raided (smuggled) ethanol, cigarettes and whiskey."
One woman died and 12 were wounded in the shooting and the conditon of two of them were critical.
Karunanayake said he was just ahead of the spot where the carnage occured and there were was a burst of fire-crackers. When the sound died down his supporters were falling on the ground and they realized they had been shot at from a black car.
Some of his supporters had been spotted the black Toyota car earlier in the day following the group.
Police said they suspected that two cars were involved in the incident.
Karunanayake blamed elements connected to the defeated Rajapaksa regime for the shooting.
He said the new administration has taken action against narcotics, smuggled ethanol, cigarettes and whiskey.
He said the part of the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party was in the government and appealed to supporters to not to generate unrest after the incident.