December 8, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s former military chief who led troops to victory over Tamil separatists in May said he fears fugitive rebels will try to assassinate him during his presidential election campaign. Sarath Fonseka, who is trying to unseat President Mahinda Rajapakse in the January 26 elections, told AFP that about 1,000 Tamil Tiger fighters may have survived the end of the decades-long war.
Fonseka said that although the Tiger leaders had all been killed, renegade suicide bombers remained a serious risk.
“The Tigers still have an international network and about 1,000 cadres who are mingling with the IDPs (internally displaced people),” he said.
“I know my life is in danger, but many people and those in the military and the police believe that I am the one who led them to victory.”
Fonseka, who was badly wounded when targeted by a suicide attacker in 2006, said the Rajapakse administration had cut his security protection despite his vulnerability on the campaign trail.
“My security unit had 25 vehicles when I was in the army, now it is reduced to two or three,” he said. “But the risk is now even greater because I am contesting elections.”
Presidential elections in Sri L