Sri Lanka's ousted president Rajapaksa gets govt residence, security on return

Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa's (right) party members welcome him and his wife Ioma Rajapaksa at the airport in Sri Lanka on Sept 2, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was on Saturday provided with an official residence and security by the government after he returned to the country he fled in July during an economic unrest, two senior officials said.

Mr Rajapaksa fled in the early hours of July 13 after massive protests engulfed Colombo and demonstrators enraged with the economic devastation stormed his official residence and office.

He resigned after arriving in Singapore and later travelled to Thailand.

A Sri Lanka government spokesman and the president's office did not immediately reply to e-mails seeking comment on Mr Rajapaksa's return.

The former president met with a group of ruling party members and lawmakers at the airport early Saturday before being whisked to the residence allocated by the government.

The motorcade carrying Mr Rajapaksa leaving the airport in Colombo in the early hours of Sept 2, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

A senior official said Mr Rajapaksa has not indicated his plans.

"What he told us last night was that he needs some time, as he wasn't even allowed to step out of his room due to security reasons," one official said, adding Mr Rajapaksa was not even allowed to go to the gym.

"Once he has spent some time at home, he will let us know what he wants to do," said the official, who asked not to be named.

Sri Lanka, grappling with one its worst economic crises since independence, this week reached a staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a loan of US$2.9 billion (S$4.1 billion). REUTERS

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