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Eastern Sri Lanka District Holds First Municipal Elections Over a Decade

Sri Lankans in the volatile eastern district of Batticaloa are at the polls Monday to cast ballots in the first municipal elections in more than a decade.

Thousands of police are on patrol to prevent any violence. The elections are seen as a step towards democracy after the Sri Lankan government seized control of the region from ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels last year.

In Colombo today, authorities say a bomb explosion killed one person and wounded at least five others.

Police say the blast was on a main road in a district where minority Tamil residents are concentrated. It is not clear if the attack was related to the local elections in eastern Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government has been in a 25-year civil war with Tamil rebels, who have been fighting to create an independent homeland for the country's minority ethnic Tamils.

The civil war has killed more than 70,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.