Fact Check: Has Sri Lankan President Fled His Country?
Colombo: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence on Saturday just before angry protesters broke through security barricades and stormed his palatial home, demanding his resignation amid an unprecedented economic and political crisis.
That is an indisputable fact.
But has he fled his country?
Well, conflicting versions on Gotobaya’s whereabouts emerged on Monday.
Sri Lanka’s speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena first said that the President had left the island nation. Later, the speaker said he had made a mistake during his interview with BBC while speaking about Gotabaya’s current location and added that he was still in the country.
He was earlier quoted as saying by local news portal NewsWire that Rajapaksa was in a neighbouring country and would return to the island nation on Wednesday.
The portal shared an audio of the speaker saying this to a BBC reporter.
Another report, by AFP, cited officials as saying that Gotobaya was flown to an airbase near the main international airport.
On Sunday, Rajapaksa issued an order from his unknown location for distribution of cooking gas after the close-to-bankrupt country received 3,700 metric tonnes of LP gas.