Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday returned to the country from Thailand, nearly two months after he fled the country following a massive uprising against his government over the island nation’s worst-ever economic crisis.
Rajapaksa, 73, fled the country on July 13 after months-long mass public demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation on July 9 gained momentum after protesters stormed the President’s House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital.
Rajapaksa arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport amidst a heavy security presence. After being received at the airport by several ministers and Parliamentarians of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, Rajapaksa left the airport in a heavily-guarded motorcade.
The ex-president returned to Sri Lanka on a Singapore Airlines flight. He travelled from Thailand to Singapore to take the flight as there are no direct flights between Bangkok and Colombo, sources said.
Rajapaksa will be living in a state bungalow close to Wijerama Mawatha in Colombo while a large security contingency will be appointed to maintain security in the area, Daily Mirror Lanka reported.
Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka to the Maldives on a Sri Lanka Airforce plane and then proceeded to Singapore, from where he sent in his resignation on July 14.
Later, he flew to Thailand, seeking temporary shelter. Thailand had said that Rajapaksa can stay in the country for 90 days because he is still a diplomatic passport holder.