Sri Lanka’s beleaguered President and 14 family members blocked from leaving country by airport staff, senior military source says
July 12, 2022
Aides for Rajapaksa arrived at the airport in Colombo on Monday with 15 passports belonging to the president and members of his family — including First Lady Ioma Rajapaksa — who had booked seats on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight leaving for Dubai at 6:25 p.m. local time, according to the military source.
Immigration officers declined to process the passports given to them by presidential aides, as Rajapaksa and his family were not physically present for cross checks and, eventually, the flight departed without the president and his family on board, the source added.
Another attempt was made to get the family on an Etihad flight scheduled to leave Colombo for Abu Dhabi at 9:20 p.m. local, according to the source, however the same problem occurred, as the Rajapaksas refused to queue for the flight and show up in person at immigration for passport checks.
In both instances, the Rajapaksa family was in a nearby airport lounge, waiting for confirmation they could board without queuing among members of the public, the source said.
Rajapaksa’s current whereabouts within Sri Lanka are unknown. On Tuesday, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) denied that he is currently staying in a private residence belonging to Air Force Chief Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, according to a SLAF statement. Source: CNN