Gotabaya departs from Maldives after 33 hours

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has departed from the Maldives after spending 33 hours in the island nation.

Gotabaya fled from Sri Lanka in a Sri Lankan Air Force Aircraft and arrived in the Maldives early Wednesday, amid a popular uprising in his country driven by economic collapse. According to reports, his escape was facilitated by Parliament Speaker and former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed.

Security at the VIA was heavily tightened to coincide with Gotabaya's arrival and departure in the Maldives. He departed from the Maldives on a Saudi Airlines flight on Thursday morning. He arrived at Velana International Airport early Thursday after staying at a resort not far from the airport.

According to the flight itinerary, the Saudi Airlines flight flies from VIA to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Gotabaya is reportedly on his way to Singapore, where he has been granted asylum. It is not clear whether he will go to Singapore after arriving in Malaysia or whether he will be traveling to Saudi Arabia.

There were reports that Gotabaya would be departing from the Maldives on a private jet for security reasons. However, a local official said this was untrue and that the rumors were deliberately spread to misinform the public and the media. He said that reports that a jet landed at the VIA this morning to fly Gotabaya were not true.