Lanka withdraws security detail for Fonseka | world | Hindustan Times
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Lanka withdraws security detail for Fonseka

world Updated: Jan 28, 2010 17:59 IST

The security measures provided to Sri Lanka's defeated presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka have been withdrawn with immediate effect, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

Brigardier Udaya Nanayakkara said four vehicles, including a bullet-proof car, and 20 army personnel had been withdrawn from Fonseka's security assignment.

The spokesman declined to comment any other security arrangements the general may be entitled to as former army chief.

Fonseka lost Tuesday's poll to incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was officially declared election winner Wednesday with 57.88 per cent of the votes.

The opposition candidate claimed the results were "manipulated" and said he would challenge them in court. He alleged that the president had misused the state media and abused other state property by using officials, vehicles and government buildings for his campaign.

As preliminary results were announced, troops surrounded a Colombo hotel where Fonseka was staying, but the government denied it was trying to arrest him. Later on Wednesday, a Fonseka spokesman confirmed that the siege had ended and the general had been able to leave the hotel.

The opposition protested the removal of Fonseka's security detail.

"It is well known that General Fonseka has security threats," Vijitha Herath, an opposition member of parliament said. The former general led the military campaign against the Tamil rebels, and the removal of his security could pose a danger to his life, Herath said.

Fonseka said Wednesday his life was under threat and there were moves to arrest him.

Meanwhile, supporters of Rajapaksa continued their celebrations following the president's re-election for another six-year term.

No serious incidents of violence have been reported overnight and Sri Lankans started returning to work on Thursday after Wednesday's public holiday.