Sri Lanka court bans ex-PM Rajapaksa, allies from leaving country

Mahinda Rajapaksa, his politician son Namal and 15 allies have been barred from leaving the island over violence against anti-government demonstrators.

A Sri Lankan court has banned former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his politician son Namal and 15 allies from leaving the country over violence against anti-government demonstrators.

The magistrate in the main city of Colombo on Thursday ordered police to investigate Monday’s mob attacks on peaceful protesters, which led to retaliations. Nine people died in the violence and cities saw widespread destruction.

A petition to the court had also requested an arrest warrant for Rajapaksa and his associates, a court official told AFP news agency.

“But the magistrate turned it down because police anyway have powers to detain any suspect,” the official added.

Victims of Monday’s violence say Rajapaksa and key aides had bussed about 3,000 of their supporters into the capital and instigated them to attack peaceful protesters.

The loyalist mob poured out of his residence and assaulted anti-government demonstrators with sticks and clubs.

Buddhist monks and Catholic priests were among at least 225 people hospitalised after the attack.

Reprisals soon spread across the country, with dozens of homes of Rajapaksa loyalists set ablaze.

The premier resigned and had to be evacuated from his home by heavily armed troops.

The 76-year-old former leader is currently holed up at a naval facility in the east of the island nation.

His former minister son Namal told AFP on Tuesday that the family had no intention of leaving the country.

Meanwhile, Mahinda’s younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is set to name a new prime minister on Thursday, with five-times ex-premier Ranil Wickremesinghe being a frontrunner.

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