Sri Lanka’s ousted president to return home

Colombo, Sep 2 (EFE).- Sri Lanka’s ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa may return home, government sources told EFE on Friday.

The sources said Rajapaksa might land on the island early Saturday.

A source, requesting anonymity, said Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party had requested President Ranil Wickremesinghe to arrange security for his predecessor.

Rajapaksa, 73, left Sri Lanka on July 13 amid mass protests, calling for his resignation.

Tens of thousands of protesters amassed in Colombo as hundreds stormed into his official residence, prompting him to flee as the country battled months of worst economic crisis since its independence.

The country suffered from a severe shortage of foreign exchange reserves.

“There was a clear risk to his safety. Leaving the country was the right thing to do at that moment,” the source told Efe.

Dhamitha A, a protester at GotaGoGama, said the former president would not face resistance from the people.

“I don’t think there will be mass protests. In fact, we want him here. We want to hold him accountable for the crisis we are in,” Dhamitha said.

Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives first before proceeding to Singapore. He sent in his resignation from there on July 14.

He flew to Thailand later, seeking temporary shelter.

Rajapaksa returns a day after the International Monetary Fund announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Sri Lanka on a bailout package.

During a press conference, Peter Breuer, who led the IMF team in Sri Lanka, said the political environment in Sri Lanka is crucial to moving forward. EFE


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