Gotabaya Rajapaksa has departed Maldives.
Rajapaksa, who had been given sanctuary in the Maldives by the Government, had departed via a flight of Saudi Airlines.
The ticket for the flight was issued from the Airline's office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Tickets were issued to Rajapaksa and three other individuals. The destination is Singapore. It is expected that Singapore has provided a guarantee that asylum would be given to the President and his contingent.
He was escorted to Velana International Airport (VIA), by a launch of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Ithaafushi is a property owned by business tycoon Mohamed Ali Janah. Janah is a close associate of Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid. After he arrived at the airport, he was escorted to Hulhulhe' Island Hotel (HIH) at around 1000hrs local time and directly boarded the flight out of Male'.
Two vessels of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) had escorted the Ithaafushi launch to VIA. TMJ has been able to verify that Rajapaksa boarded the flight under MNDF Special Forces protection.
Parliament Speaker former President Nasheed had traveled to Ithaafushi on Thursday morning and met the President in the property. Nasheed had accompanied Rajapaksa to the airport and at HIH as well.
Rajapaksa arrived in Male', in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was welcomed on arrival by Nasheed. This had sparked speculation in international media that Nasheed had a hand in Rajapaksa exiting Sri Lanka.
So far, the Government of Maldives is yet to issue a statement on the scandal.
Gotabaya had pledged to resign the post of Presidency on Wednesday. He is yet to tender in his resignation.
The Government of Maldives' decision to award him sanctuary was extremely unpopular. Sri Lankans living in the Maldives had staged a protest on Wednesday evening - only for Maldives Police Service (MPS) to violently crack down on the protest.
Both locals and Sri Lankans took to social media to express their anger over the Government's decision, with many Sri Lankans stating that they would not forget what the Maldivian authorities had done.