In a clear signs that he is getting ready to take on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the expected presidential race, General (retired) Sarath Fonseka said he would "fight for democracy".

In his first political salvo since he shed his uniform on November 16, General (retired) Fonseka, who is being discussed among the opposition as their possible presidential nominee, said he was committing himself to restoring the democratic rights of the people.

In a farewell letter, penned in Sinhala to troops he led during the war, the General said: "I want to assure you that I will commit myself to protect democratic freedoms which we are rapidly losing. I pledge to work to restore human rights, media freedom, social justice, ethnic unity and peaceful coexistence. I will be by your side like a shadow."

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government on Friday night announced it was investigating reports in a section of the media of an attempt to assassinate the General.

Military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanyakkara said: "A local newspaper report today has alleged that the government is trying to hatch a conspiracy to kill retired Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka and the police have been asked to enquire into the matter".

The Island newspaper in a report said General (retired) Fonseka had been allowed to pick his security contingent.

The Defence Ministry had instructed Army chief Lieutenant-General Jagath Jayasuriya to release officers and men requested by the former Army Commander, the report said.

Resettled

Mr. Rajapaksa on Friday said the remaining 1.36 lakh of the nearly 2.8 lakh war displaced would be sent back to their villages in the next few days.

Mr. Rajapaksa told visiting U.N. Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes that 1.43 lakh internally displaced persons (IDPs) had already been resettled in their original locales with infrastructure facilities, common amenities and full security

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