Lankan troops surround hotel occupied by Fonseka

Heavily armed Lankan troops were deployed around the building following information that army deserters were among 400 people present inside the lake-front luxury hotel in central Colombo. "We don't know whether these suspected army deserters are providing security or are associated with Gen (retd.) Sarath Fonseka," Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told reporters.

Nanayakkara, however, said they were not targeting retired four-star general Fonseka, who is trailing in fiercely contested presidential elections at which he challenged President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "There is no restriction on Sarath Fonseka and he is free to leave the hotel," Nanayakkara said, adding the army is persuading the deserters to come out of the hotel.

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