According to official sources, the Sri Lankan president was stranded at Colombo airport after a humiliating confrontation with immigration officials who prevented him from traveling abroad in exile.
After protesters stormed the presidential house on March 31, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa managed to escape through a back door. Official sources said that he was then transferred to the northeast of the country on a military ship. More precisely, this location will be around the Katunayake Air Base, which is located near the Bandaranaike International Airport.
Local media have already indicated that the president will go into exile in Dubai. However, several employees at the airport said the president and his wife missed four flights to the United Arab Emirates. Immigration officials refused to enter the VIP departure hall to stamp the president’s passport, and the president, in turn, refused to enter the public hall for fear of people’s reactions. For example, he and his wife were stranded at Colombo airport and spent the night at a military base near the airport.
Former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the president’s younger brother, also tried to leave the country. Immigration officials also refused to serve him in the VIP departure hall at Colombo Airport. About this, KAS Kanugala, President of the Sri Lankan Association of Immigration and Immigration Officers said: “Due to the unrest in Sri Lanka, immigration officials are under tremendous pressure not to allow senior executives to leave the country. We are concerned for our safety. So until this matter is resolved, the immigration officers who are working decided In the VIP lounge withdraw their services.”
The president has already informed Parliament Speaker Mahinda Abiwardana that he will resign on Wednesday, July 13. This would automatically give Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe office until Parliament elects a replacement for the remainder of the term. However, he has already announced his resignation. According to a member of the government, it was agreed that the new president would be elected on July 20. A source from the largest political party, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), reported that a preliminary agreement had already been reached in support of Premadasa, the son of a former president.
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