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Sri Lankan ex-candidate’s office raided

Associated Press / January 30, 2010

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Police raided the office of Sri Lanka’s defeated presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, and arrested 15 of its workers yesterday, his lawyer said, after he disputed this week’s election result and the government alleged he was planning a coup.

The government has also said that Fonseka, a former army chief and the opposition’s main candidate in the vote, was planning to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Police commandos raided Fonseka’s office in the capital, Colombo, saying they were looking for army deserters, said Mano Ganeshan, an opposition lawmaker.

A government spokesman confirmed the report, but did not give details. An Associated Press photographer saw members of the police Special Task Force deployed near the office.

Fonseka was at his house elsewhere in Colombo at the time of the raid, Ganeshan said.