Sri Lankan President Sirisena's brother killed in axe attack

COLOMBO (AFP) - The younger brother of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena died in hospital on Saturday after being attacked by a man wielding an axe two days earlier, the police said.

Mr Priyantha Sirisena, 40, suffered severe head injuries in his hometown of Polonnaruwa, 215km north-east of the capital Colombo, the police said.

The local businessman's death came as the President was in China on a state visit.

Police said they arrested a man in connection with the attack and an investigation was underway. The president's brother was flown to the capital for emergency treatment, but his head injuries were so severe that, despite surgery, he did not recover, doctors said.

Mr Sirisena came to power following the bitterly fought January presidential election.