Deposed SL ex-President Rajapaksa returns from exile

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Deposed SL ex-President Rajapaksa returns from exile

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former president of Sri Lanka who fled in July following mass protests, returned to his nation's capital, Colombo, on Friday, flying in around midnight local time to Bandaranaike International Airport from Bangkok, Thailand, reported DW, quoting news agencies AP and Reuters.

Rajapaksa was welcomed by members of his political party before being whisked away in a heavily guarded motorcade.

Rajapaksa fled the country on July 13, aboard an air force jet for the Maldives with his wife and two bodyguards before traveling on to Singapore. He officially resigned there before continuing on to Thailand two weeks later.

Calls for Rajapaksa to be investigated

While there are no pending court cases or arrest warrants for the former president in Sri Lanka, there have been calls for investigations to be launched into allegations of mismanagement and corruption. Rajapaksa's resignation also ended the presidential immunity he was afforded.

"We welcome his decision to return so that we can bring him to justice for the crimes he has committed," said Tharindu Jayawardhana, a spokesman for the Sri Lanka Young Journalists' Association.

Opposition politicians have accused Rajapaksa's successor, Ranil Wickremesinghe of shielding the former president's family.

Party officials have said the former leader is unlikely to have a role in Sri Lankan politics going forward.

Sri Lanka's economic crisis

The country has been mired in an economic crisis for months, which sparked public anger, ultimately leading Rajapaksa and his brother, the former prime minister, to step down.

The global pandemic also devastated the country's tourism industry, one of the mainstays of its economy.

The island nation has experienced shortages of essential goods such as food, fuel, cooking oil and medicine.

Government has used foreign exchange reserves to finance essential imports, while street protests have been quelled with the arrests of leading activists and financial reforms have been implemented.

On Thursday the International Monetary Fund agreed to a conditional $2.9 billion (€2.9 billion) bailout to help shore up the country's finances.

Deposed SL ex-President Rajapaksa returns from exile

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