Immigration officials told the news agency that Rajapaksa, his wife and a bodyguard were among four passengers on board an Antonov-32 aircraft. The aircraft reportedly flew from the main international airport. As per AFP, he landed in Maldives in the early hours of Wednesday.
Earlier reports surfaced that Rajapaksa’s attempt to fly out of the country was thwarted by immigration officials. Notably, the Sri Lankan President wanted to fly out of the country before stepping down from the post on Wednesday, i.e. July 13, to avoid being detained. As the President, Rajapaksa enjoys immunity from arrest.
Sri Lanka is facing unprecedented economic crisis, since its independence. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was pushed further into the economic turmoil. The country was unable to pay for imports of fuel, and other essential items due to an acute shortage of foreign exchange.
Notably, once hailed by many in Sri Lanka as heroes for winning the civil war against the LTTE, the Rajapaksa brothers -Mahinda and Gotabaya – are now being blamed for the country’s worst economic crisis.