Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the country amid protests over the economic crisis attributed to his poor governance.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared an immediate state of emergency across the island nation as well as enforced a curfew in the Western Province, where Colombo is located.
Residents on the other hand continue to occupy the official residents of the President and the Prime Minister, which began Saturday.
Rajapaksa, his wife, and two bodyguards flew on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane to Male, the capital of the Maldives, the Sri Lankan Air Force confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.
“Under the provisions of the Constitution and on a request by the government, the Sri Lanka Air Force provided a plane early today to fly the president, his wife, and two security officials to the Maldives,” the statement said.
It is believed he wanted to go abroad before stepping down to avoid the possibility of being detained. The local branch of anti-corruption group Transparency International had filed a legal case to bar Gotabaya and five others, including his brother and former finance minister Basil, from leaving the country.
Sri Lanka is in dire need of fuel and essential supplies seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
Protesters have also demanded the resignation of Wickremesinghe, who himself has offered to resign as prime minister to make way for a unity government.