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'Fonseka need not have apprehensions'

world Updated: Jan 28, 2010 19:18 IST

As the opposition Presidential candidate former General Sarath Fonseka feared for his safety in the aftermath of his defeat, the authorities in Sri Lanka have withdrawn the army security cover given to him.

"A seventy-strong army security cover for retired General Fonseka which included 20 commandos has been withdrawn from today," Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told PTI.

The withdrawal of security comes even as a triumphant President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his former Army Chief would have no problems.

"What is his problem? He can always get in touch with me on matters related to his security. After all he was my former Army Chief," Rajapaksa told reporters when asked about Fonseka's apprehensions that he may be arrested.

Fonseka, last night, left the luxury beach hotel, which he made his campaign headquarter after it was surrounded by heavily armed Sri Lankan armymen.

He later shifted to his residence escorted by the army.

Brig Nanayakkara said the security cover had been withdrawn as the retd General had only asked for protection till the end of Presidential elections.

"Fonseka had approached the court for his security cover which had ruled that he be given protection till the Presidential elections.

"So the security cover has been withdrawn." Nanayakkara said.

Fonseka has already rejected the poll outcome alleging that Rajapaksa and the ruling party had indulged in large-scale electoral malpractices. He has threatened to challenge Rajapaksa's victory in the country's Supreme Court.

The former Army Chief has already expressed that he has "no intention" of leaving Sri Lanka saying, "Since four million people voted for me, I can't let them down".

At the height of his power when he led the onslaught against the Tamil Tigers and was their top target, Fonseka had 600 bodyguards and at least 50 security related vehicles.

But today even his army cook was removed.