Sunday Times Newspaper report on How President Gotabaya Rajapaksa escaped on 9th July
President Rajapaksa heeded the advice of the security chiefs to make a quick getaway and thus prevent a bloodbath. Bags were packed hurriedly. He and wife Ayoma were escorted in the official vehicle of Navy Chief Vice Admiral Ulugetenne to the Colombo Port where the SLNS (Sri Lanka Navy Ship) Gajabahu (P 626), named after a Sinhala warrior, was docked. This is an Advance Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) from the United States Coast Guard and gifted to Sri Lanka. This high endurance cutter, a river class frigate, has been named previously after John Sherman, the 32nd Secretary of Treasury of the US. This AOPV has provision to land a helicopter on board. It sailed within the country’s territorial waters. It is not immediately clear whether President Rajapaksa and party disembarked in Trincomalee and flew to the airport in SLAF helicopters or took off from onboard the frigate. The move to seek the safety of a naval vessel is on the grounds that it cannot be attacked at sea by the protestors. With the mobile phones operational, this was how President Rajapaksa telephoned Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, to inform him that he would send in his resignation on July 13. He, however, did not reveal his plans then. He also kept in touch with an immediate circle using his mobile telephone from the AOPV.
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