Sri Lanka’s Fonseka leaves hotel

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

January 27, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s defeated opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka left a luxury hotel in Colombo on Wednesday where he had been holed up all day surrounded by troops, an AFP reporter witnessed. He drove out of the lake-side hotel complex in a black BMW in a motorcade of several cars, which was stopped briefly by the soldiers before they allowed him to continue to an unknown destination.

He had earlier complained of intimidation and said he was unable to leave because of fear of arrest or attempts on his life after the government removed his security team.

He was stopped briefly by the troops who initially wanted to search the vehicles.

Soon after he left, the force of about 100 heavily armed men quickly withdrew and road blocks put in place earlier in the day were removed.

Fonseka had suggested that he might have to go abroad if his security was removed because he would be vulnerable to an assassination plot.

The former four-star general was heavily protected during his time in the military when the country was at war with Tamil Tiger rebels who pioneered suicide bombings and were responsible for multiple assassinations.

The Tigers were wiped out by Fonseka’s forc