A Sri Lankan woman walks past a notice board covered with posters carrying portraits of President Maithripala Sirisena and newly appointed Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa at a street in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.
A Sri Lankan woman walks past a notice board covered with posters carrying portraits of President Maithripala Sirisena and newly appointed Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa at a street in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena says he fired the prime minister because there was a plot to assassinate him.

The president addressed the nation Sunday night, defending his decision to fire Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, disband the government, and suspend parliament.

He said an informant told police that a Cabinet minister was part of the plot to kill him. Sirisena did not reveal the name of the minister, but said he had no choice but to fire Wickremesinghe.
 

Sri Lanka's sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremes
Sri Lanka's sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe attends a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Oct. 27, 2018.

Sirisena named former president and strongman Mahinda Rajapakse as the new prime minister and appointed him to form a new government.

Rajapakse crushed the decades-long Tamil Tiger uprising in Sir Lanka when he was in power, but he has refused to acknowledge abuses committed during the bloody civil war.

Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said in a letter to the president Sunday he continues to recognize ousted Wickremesinghe and that he "still held the confidence of majority of Parliament."

Members of Wickremesinghe's government said Friday's move amounted to a coup.

Meanwhile, one person was killed and two wounded when security guards opened fire on Rajapakse supporters who tried to stop the now ousted petroleum minister from entering his office.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement Sunday urging all sides to refrain from violence and calling on Sirisena to immediately reconvene parliament.