ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ex-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was also an ex-President is being protected at the Trincomalee Naval base, Defence Ministry Secretary Kamal Guneratne said on Wednesday (11).
“We have taken former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Trincomalee Naval dockyard for his safety,” Guneratne told reporters in an online briefing.
This was after the military had protected Rajapaksa from thousands of violent protesters who surrounded his official residence Temple Trees in Colombo, he said.
“Within the next few days we will send him [back] after [the situation in the country] is back to normal,” he added, without specifying where Rajapaksa will be relocated to.
The ex-Prime Minister’s residence came under seige from angry protestors soon after he stepped down on May 09, following violent riots that erupted after his supporters launched an unprovoked attack on peaceful anti-government protestors earlier that day.
An angry crowd gathered outside the Trincomalee naval base the following day, after rumours spread on social media that Rajapaksa and his immediate family had sought refuge there.
The situation in front of the base has now calm down, Navy Media Spokesman Captain Indika Silva said.
“There were a few protesters there protesting peacefully, and no violent act took place. Now the situation has calmed down,” Silva told EconnomyNext on Wednesday (11).
Gunarante said the country is returning to normal after the extension of the curfew imposed on Monday to 48 hours.
“Apart from a few minor incidents, no major incidents of violence except the Negambo incident has taken place in the last 24 hours,” he said.
Reports said a tense situation in Negombo that unnamed parties had tried to turn into a moment of communal violence was brought under control by locals.
Asked about the extent the forces will go to protect former Prime Minister Mahinda Rjapaksa, Gunaratne said the forces will go to any extent to safeguard the former PM and added that all other leaders and former leaders of the country will be treated the same.
“We have a very capable military in our country. W e will protect the people and the country going to the maximum extent we can go,” he said. (Colombo/May11/2022)