Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees to Maldives

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa | Photo: Reuters

Malé, Maldives – A Military jet carrying the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in Velana International Airport at around 02:50 on Wednesday.

Local news reports sightings of former President and Speaker of Maldives Parliament Mohamed Nasheed an hour before Gotabaya’s arrival at Velana International Airport churning public outrage.

Gotabaya and his companions are expected to travel to their final destination sometime this afternoon or evening. The president would most likely proceed to another Asian country from there, the government source said.

The Maldivian Government has not address the issue regarding while Parliament denies any knowledge of Gotabaya’s arrival.

Reuters reports that the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards left the main international airport near Colombo aboard a Sri Lankan Air Force plane in the early hours this morning.

Government sources and aides said the president’s brothers, former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, were still in Sri Lanka, the air force said in a statement.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country on Wednesday, hours before he was due to step down after a people’s uprising over a devastating economic crisis ended his family’s powerful grip on the island nation.

As news of the president’s flight spread, thousands of people gathered at the main protest site in Colombo chanting “Gota thief, Gota thief”, referring to him by a nickname. Hundreds of others stormed the prime minister’s office, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.