My life is under threat: Sri Lankan ex-army chief

Indo Asian News Service

Colombo, June 10 (IANS) Former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka, who was recently released from prison, Sunday said his life is under threat and he needs to be provided with tighter security.

The country's first four-star general said he has been provided with a security contingent by the government but it was not enough, Xinhua reported.

Police said the former army chief has been provided with 15 officers from the Ministerial Security Division following a request by Fonseka's associates.

However, Fonseka said he was not satisfied with the security, and he needs more based on threats he faces.

Fonseka led the army against the Tamil Tigers during the final years of the three-decade-long civil war that resulted in the defeat of the rebels in May 2009.

In April 2006, Fonseka survived an assassination attempt when a woman suicide bomber blew herself up near his car inside the military headquarters in the capital Colombo.

Fonseka sustained injuries in the attack that killed nine people, including his security personnel.

The relationship between Fonseka and the government became strained after he retired from the military in late 2009 and announced his candidature for the presidential elections.

Fonseka contested as the leader of an opposition coalition but lost the election to incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He was later arrested and jailed over various charges including illegal arms deals, harbouring army deserters and making allegations to the media that soldiers had shot unarmed rebel cadres.

Fonseka was freed from prison last month on a presidential pardon but still faces trial in a case involving harbouring of army deserters.

The trial for Fonseka and his personal assistant Senaka Haripriya de Silva will begin June 21.