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Feb 08, 2010 at 11:01pm IST

Ex-Sri Lanka Army chief Fonseka arrested

Colombo: Sri Lanka arrested former army commander and losing presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka at his office on Monday night, for what the army said were military offences.

Fonseka lost by an 18 percent margin to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a Jan. 26 election, and since then has accused his former commander-in-chief of rigging the vote. The government in turn has accused him of a coup and assassination plot.

"He was dragged away in a very disgraceful manner in front of our own eyes," Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem told Reuters. One of Fonseka's security officers, I P Herath, confirmed the account of Fonseka's arrest by military police.

PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGER: Sri Lanka former army commander General Sarath Fonseka arrested.

Military spokesman Major-General Prasad Samarasinghe said the arrest related to offences from Fonseka's time in the army, which ended in November when he quit and entered the presidential race.

"General Fonseka has been arrested on charges of committing military offences," Samarasinghe said in an official statement broadcast by the government Information Department.

It gave no other details.

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