Sri Lankan soldiers walk outside the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on October 28, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

Colombo: Update: Sri Lanka's president said on Sunday that the main reason he decided to sack his prime minister was the alleged involvement of a Cabinet minister in a plot to assassinate him.

In a televised address to the nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said a person questioned by investigators had revealed the name of a minister in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defense secretary.

He said the only choice for him under the circumstances was to dismiss Ranil Wickremesinghe and invite his former nemesis and ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa to take over as prime minister and form a new government.

"This information (received by investigators) contains a number of details hitherto hidden to the people," Sirisena said. "The informant has made a statement regarding a Cabinet minister involved in the conspiracy to assassinate me."

He did not reveal the name of the minister.

Even though Sirisena's supporters had been talking about an alleged plot to assassinate him for weeks, Sunday was the first time Sirisena had made a public statement on it.

 

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka police said two people were injured on Sunday when shots were fired in Colombo, as a constitutional crisis sparked by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's shock sacking turned violent.

One of those shot in the melee, a 34-year-old man, died shortly after being admitted to the Colombo National, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

 

odyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired live rounds at a mob loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena after the group tried to take the cabinet member hostage, police said.

It was the first report of serious violence since Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on Friday and installed former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse as the new prime minister, triggering political chaos.