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Ousted Sri Lankan president returns home

Sri Lanka’s former president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country seven weeks ago after a wave of mass protests rocked the island, returned home late Friday, airport officials said.

Rajapaksa returned from Thailand, where he had been living since August 11 after previously staying in the Maldives and Singapore following his escape from Sri Lanka.

He arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake, 30 kilometres north of the capital Colombo, and driven away from the tarmac under heavy security.

The former president fled after tens of thousands of protesters, angered by a spiralling economic crisis that caused food and fuel shortages, stormed his official residence on July 9.

He was first forced to take refuge in a naval vessel and then left the country four days later on an air force flight to the Maldives.

Rajapaksa has been provided with extra security and an official bungalow, but is unlikely to play a role in politics going forward, his party officials said.

However, his party members remain in power under President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has calmed the protests and implemented financial reforms.

There are loud calls for the former president to be investigated for mismanagement and corruption.

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