Sri Lankan president leaves Maldives for Singapore –

Sri Lankan president leaves Maldives for Singapore –

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa flies to Singapore/Andy Buchanan/Pool/Getty Images

Published on Thursday 2022.07.14 19:37 JST

(CNN) Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa has left the Maldives for Singapore. A senior security source in Colombo, Sri Lanka, told CNN. The president has yet to officially resign, and anger is running high in the country.

Security sources said it was expected to arrive at Singapore’s Changi Airport on Thursday night. Rajapaksa said he had previously been in Colombo waiting for a private jet arranged by relatives, but “it never happened”.

Security sources said Rajapaksa left the Maldivian capital, Male, on a “Saudi Arabian flight”. The flight, believed to be Flight 788 operated by Saudi Arabian Airlines, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, took off from Male at 11.30am local time that day.

CNN reached out to Singapore’s foreign ministry and Saudi Arabia but received no response.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka on the morning of the 13th and stayed in Male for a day. He had previously announced that he would resign on March 13.

But as of that day, the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament has not received a formal letter of resignation. Rajapaksa, who is in exile, is believed to have nominated Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as acting president, raising doubts about Rajapaksa’s true intentions.

Protesters stormed the office of acting president Wickremesinghe shortly after he left the country. Wickremesinghe responded by imposing a nationwide curfew.

Rajapaksa is believed to have been on a Saudi Arabian plane bound for Singapore

Many demonstrators are preparing to continue demonstrating until the resignation of the president and prime minister.

Wickremesinghe will appoint a team of senior military commanders to “restore law and order” across the country, a senior military official told CNN.

By Monday morning, the streets of Colombo, the commercial capital, had calmed down, police said. But signs of the country’s troubles are everywhere.

Catastrophic fuel shortages have left cars abandoned in rows on the streets near gas stations. Citizens use bicycles because they cannot commute by car. Some people sleep in their cars.

One officer was seriously injured during the protest and was treated in hospital, police said. An Army sergeant was also wounded.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday he was closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka and called for a “peaceful and democratic transition”.

“It is important to address the root causes of the conflict and the plight of the protesters,” he tweeted.

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