Sri Lanka: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees the country on military jet
Posted on July 12th, 2022

Courtesy BBC

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has arrived in the Maldives, after fleeing the country amid protests over the island’s economic crisis.

The 73-year-old arrived in the capital city, Male, at around 03:00 local time (22:00 GMT), the BBC understands.

Mr Rajapaksa left aboard a military jet, ending a familial dynasty that has ruled the country for decades.

He had been in hiding after crowds stormed his residence on Saturday.

His brother, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, has also left the country, sources have told the BBC.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s youngest brother was prevented from leaving the country 24 hours earlier but is now said to be heading to the US.

The president earlier pledged to resign on Wednesday amid mass protests.

Sri Lankans blame President Rajapaksa’s administration for their worst economic crisis in decades.

For months they have been struggling with daily power cuts and shortages of basics like fuel, food and medicines.

The authoritarian leader, who enjoys immunity from prosecution while he is president, is believed to have wanted to flee abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of arrest by the new administration.

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