Sri Lanka crisis: Gotabaya Rajapaksa flies to Singapore from Maldives; final destination Saudi Arabia

Sri Lanka crisis: Gotabaya Rajapaksa flies to Singapore from Maldives; final destination Saudi Arabia

He boarded a Saudi Airlines plane on Wednesday that will take him to Singapore and then to Jeddah, a Maldives government officials said

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, July 14, 2022, 01:01 PM IST
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Sri Lanka's disgraced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa | AP

Maldives officials say Sri Lanka's disgraced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is taking a Saudi Airlines plane to Singapore and then Saudi Arabia, reports AP.

He boarded a Saudi Airlines plane on Wednesday that will take him to Singapore and then to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a Maldives government officials said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka early Wednesday as protesters were taking over government buildings to demand he resign.

Earlier, it was reported that troops were moving Thursday to secure Sri Lanka’s parliament building against a takeover by protesters infuriated by the country’s economic collapse and the embattled president’s failure to resign a day after fleeing the country.

Troops in green military uniforms and camouflage vests arrived by armoured personnel carriers at the parliament building, anticipating more protests after a group attempted to storm the entrance the previous day, clashing with police who fended them off with tear gas and batons.

Some protesters posted videos on social media pleading with others not to storm the Parliament, fearing an escalation of violence.

With the country sinking into political chaos, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his wife fled to the Maldives on Wednesday aboard an air force jet. He made the prime minister acting president in his absence — a move that further roiled passions among a public that blames Rajapaksa for an economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of food and fuel.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka government has imposed a curfew in Colombo district from 12 noon on July 14 to 5 am on July 15, says news agency Reuters quoting a government statement.

At least 45 people were hospitalised following a standoff between the police and protesters who had stormed Rajapaksa-ally Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office demanding the PM’s resignation. Local media said a 26-year-old protester who was hospitalised after being tear-gassed died of breathing difficulties, reported Reuters.

(with inputs from AP)

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