Fleeing Sri Lankan president believed to land in Singapore – The Denver Post


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A flight believed to be carrying fleeing Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in Singapore on Thursday.

The arrivals board at the airport showed the plane had arrived.

Rajapaksa and his wife fled to the Maldives early Wednesday aboard an air force plane amid mass protests demanding he resign over his country’s economic collapse.

A Maldives government official earlier said Rajapaksa had boarded a flight of the Saudi Arabian carrier Saudia from the Maldives’ capital, Male, bound for Singapore. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

It was unclear if Rajapaksa planned to stay there or travel on to another destination.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan protesters began to retreat from government buildings they had seized and military troops reinforced security at the Parliament on Thursday, establishing a tenuous calm in a country in both economic meltdown and political limbo.

Embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled a day earlier under pressure from protesters furious over the island nation’s economic collapse. But he failed to resign as promised — and further angered the crowds by making his prime minister acting leader.

Protesters want both men out and a unity government in to address the economic calamity that has triggered widespread shortages of food, fuel and other necessities. But with a fractured opposition and confusion over who was in charge, a solution seemed no closer following Rajapaksa’s departure. Adding to confusion, the president was still on the move, leaving the Maldives for Singapore on Thursday, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Rajapaksa and his wife fled Sri Lanka early Wednesday aboard an air force plane as protesters were taking over government buildings to demand he resign. Rajapaksa promised over the weekend he would do so, but instead he named his prime minister acting president in his absence.


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