After airport standoff, Lankan President plans sea route to escape: Report
| Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 16:35 [IST]
Colombo, July 12: Embattled Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has not been seen in public since protesters stormed his house on Saturday, is considering fleeing the country using a navy patrol craft. It comes after a humiliating standoff with airport immigration.
He has already signed his resignation which will be submitted to the speaker of the Parliament on Wednesday. The President fled his official residence in Colombo before tens of thousands of protesters stormed into his house on Saturday.Gotabaya Rajapaksa
The 73-year-old politician wanted to travel to Dubai, but immigration officers refused to let him go to the VIP suite to stamp his passport, officials have informed AFP. He was unwilling to go through the public facilities, fearing reprisals from the public.
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After missing four flights to Dubai, Rajapaksa and his wife stayed at a military base next to the main Bandaranaike International airport, the report said.
Sri Lanka's former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, the youngest brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was stopped from fleeing the country on Monday evening.
He was trying to board a flight to Dubai. The airport immigration officials did not permit him to leave the country following protests from the passengers, Daily Mirror reported. "There were some other passengers who protested against Basil boarding their flight," an airport official told AFP. "It was a tense situation, so he hurriedly left the airport."
The President's closest military aides were discussing the possibility of taking him and his entourage overseas aboard a naval patrol craft, a top defence source said. "The best option now is to take the sea exit," the defence official said. "He could go to the Maldives or India and get a flight to Dubai."
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The other option for Rajapaksa to escape the country is the air route. The report added that he can charter a plane to fly him from the country's second international airport at Mattala.
Sri Lanka is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.
Story first published: Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 16:35 [IST]