Former Sri Lanka leader protests security

May 10, 2007 (AFP) – Former Sri Lanka president Chandrika Kumaratunga has protested the withdrawal of commandos assigned to protect her, saying she was still a target for assassination. She retained a staff of 198 and used 36 vehicles after stepping down. The constitution allows a former president to use two cars and a staff of about 25. Some 28 army commandos from her security unit moved out Wednesday following a Supreme Court ruling last week that she was not entitled to extravagant privileges, including a large band of bodyguards and state vehicles.

“A threat assessment in June showed that she is still among the first three people in a hit list of the (rebel Tamil) Tigers,” a spokesman for Kumaratunga said.

Police say she can have six constables to guard her.

Kumaratunga completed two terms as the all-powerful executive president in November 2005 and was succeeded by her prime minister Mahinda Rajapakse. The two are from the same party but have a serious personality clash.

The former president, who is currently abroad, said in a letter to Rajapakse that a quick decision must be taken to restore her security as she planned to return home shortly.

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