Lankan troops surround Fonseka's hotel

Lankan troops surround Fonseka's hotel

As the election trends started coming in, tension soared in the capital as heavily-armed soldiers drove in and surrounded the lake-front luxury hotel in central Colombo, where Fonseka is staying.
Later, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops had been deployed following information that army deserters were among 400 people present inside.

"We don't know whether these suspected army deserters are providing security or are associated with Gen (retd.) Sarath Fonseka," Nanayakkara said. But opposition condemned the army action, with its spokesman saying the trend was "dangerous".

Later, a group of 10 security officials attached to Fonseka's security contingent came out and gave themselves up to the troops surrounding the hotel. 59-year-old Fonseka's camp claimed the 10 men were part of the security contingent given to the Presidential Candidate by the Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and were not army deserters. Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said the men have been cleared to provide security to Fonseka.

The government had earlier accused the former army chief of hiring a private militia comprising army deserters, a charge denied by the opposition. The opposition spokesman said, "they feared for Fonseka's safety."

Post-vote violence was also reported from the scenic area of Kandy, where two people were killed in an explosion. Authorities later imposed the curfew in Gampola, Nawalapitiya and Kurudiwatte in north-eastern part of the Kandy, police spokesman S M Karunaratane told reporters.

The ruling United People's Freedom Alliances functionaries said the public servants failed to come into Fonseka's salary hike trap after he assured a Rs 10,000 hike to nearly 11 lakh employers.

Rajapaksa had told foreign journalists recently that he would give a hike of Rs 2500 to these employed as it was feasible and that "one would perhaps have to start printing notes to implement Fonseka's promise". Meanwhile, Rajapaksa  also secured the majority of the postal votes countrywide.

"The stronghold of Colombo that backs Fonseka with an alliance is too predicted to fall into the hands of the President at any time when results are announced," the website maintained. "Rajapaksa's overall lead on Fonseka is well over 65 per cent with Fonseka battling to save face of a humiliating defeat," it said. A large voter turn out was witnessed yesterday as Election Observers and Monitors claimed the poll was free and fair.

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