Military ordered to arrest Gen. Sarath and family members

(January 27, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) According a Senior military source, the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse has given instructions to the Army Commander Jagath Jayasooriya to arrest the opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka and his family members immediately upon most of the election results are announced. The move is said to prevent the Sarath Fonseka and his family members leaving the country.

Confirming our earlier exclusive breaking news the Sydney Morning Herald reporter in Colombo Matt Wade reported: ‘Fears that the Sri Lankan military might intervene in a crucial presidential election were stoked overnight when a large contingent of troops surrounded the hotel where contender, Sarath Fonseka, was staying in Colombo.

‘More than 100 heavily armed soldiers in battle fatigues stood at regular intervals on the roads outside Colombo's Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel (old Trans Asia Hotel) where Fonseka and his key supporters had reportedly occupied rooms on the third floor.

‘The Herald was stopped when approaching the hotel overnight while troops checked identity documents, searched bags and scanned the vehicle with torches.

‘The troops took up their positions soon after polls closed following a bitter and sometimes violent election campaign that pitted Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa against Fonseka, the former army chief.

‘Analysts were predicting a tight result in what was the first presidential election since the military defeated Tamil Tiger rebels after nearly 30 years of armed conflict.

‘It was not clear who had ordered the troops to be stationed outside the hotel or what the purpose of the deployment was. But a senior Sri Lankan journalist told the Herald that he was concerned it signalled the army was preparing to intervene in Sri Lankan politics.

‘The general alleged on Saturday that Government members had made preparations to nullify the election result, should he win, and use the army to stay in power’.

In another development, the army is said to have beaten the opposition observers at number of vote counting stations in the various parts of the island.