Sri Lankan gov't exposes assassination attempt on president

09:33, January 29, 2010      

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A senior Sri Lankan government official said on Thursday that a group of army deserters and retired military personnel had been arrested for plotting assassination of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and top government officials.

"More arrests will be made in the next few days based on the information provided by those now being interrogated," Lakshman Hulugalle, director general of Media Center for National Security, told reporters.

Former Sri Lankan police chief Chandra Fernando said the conspiracy had been hatched by opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka 's men since they knew that they were losing the presidential election, an allegation denied by Fonseka, who promised a legal challenge to the outcome of Tuesday's ballot.

Mangala Samaraweera, join spokesman for Fonseka, meanwhile accused the government of holding Fonseka and his supporters for hours in a hotel by deploying hundreds of soldiers outside on Tuesday.

Rajapaksa was declared winner on Wednesday, defeating his main rival Fonseka in the first national election since the Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated last May after 25 years of civil war.

Source: Xinhua
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