Sri Lanka deploys troops amid pre-poll bomb fears

Sri Lanka deployed troops amid fears of suicide bomb attacks against presidential candidates staging their final campaign rallies Monday ahead of an election later this week. Sri Lanka deployed troops amid fears of suicide bomb attacks against presidential candidates staging their final campaign rallies Monday ahead of an election later this week. “Extraordinary measures” had been taken to strengthen security in Colombo for two key rallies ahead of Thursday’s vote, to prevent a repeat of past pre-poll violence, said police deputy inspector general Pujith Jayasundara.

“We have called in the army to reinforce the police wherever necessary,” Jayasundara told AFP. “We have received reports of possible LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) suicide attacks.”

Joint police and army patrols were guarding rallies by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and his main rival, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Opinion polls showed the rivals running neck-and-neck.

Campaigning must end by midnight Monday under election rules in the island-nation torn by ethnic violence that has killed more than 60,000 people.

On the final campaign day of the 1999 presidentia