Sri Lanka president flies to Singapore from Maldives

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 14 2022 07:09 PM

A person watches a video on a mobile phone of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the nation on television, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 11 May 2022 (reissued 09 July 2022). Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa on 09 July 2022 agreed to resign on 13 July, the parliament's speaker said in a statement after a party leaders' meeting. Thousands of protesters broke through police barricades and stormed the president's official residence during anti-government protest in Colombo. Violent protests have been rocking the country for months over the government's alleged failure to address the worst economic crisis in decades. EPA-EFE/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE
A person watches a video on a mobile phone of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the nation on television, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 11 May 2022 (reissued 09 July 2022). Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa on 09 July 2022 agreed to resign on 13 July, the parliament's speaker said in a statement after a party leaders' meeting. Thousands of protesters broke through police barricades and stormed the president's official residence during anti-government protest in Colombo. Violent protests have been rocking the country for months over the government's alleged failure to address the worst economic crisis in decades. EPA-EFE/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE


Malé, Maldives - Sri Lanka's president left the Maldives Thursday aboard a Saudia airline plane bound for Singapore, an airport official told AFP, a day after he escaped to the atoll nation.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife Ioma and their two bodyguards were escorted to the aircraft minutes before it took off from Velana International airport in Male, the official said.

Rajapaksa had promised at the weekend to resign on Wednesday and clear the way for a "peaceful transition of power" after fleeing his official residence in Colombo just before tens of thousands of protesters overran it. 

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Official sources said a suitcase full of documents had also been left behind at Rajapaksa's stately mansion along with 17.85 million rupees (about $50,000) in cash, now in the custody of a Colombo court.

As president, Rajapaksa enjoys immunity from arrest, and he is believed to have wanted to go abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of being detained.

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