Meanwhile, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa was evacuated from Temple Trees, his official residence in Colombo, and taken to a naval base in the eastern port city of Trincomalee on May 10 for his “security”, according to Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary to the Defence Ministry.
Addressing a media conference on May 11, he said: “The former PM is at the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. He will be there for a few more days. We will provide him with whatever security he needs and for as long as he wants.”
As violence intensified, the former Prime Minister was flown to Trincomalee, some 300 km north-east of capital Colombo, and home to Tamils, Muslims, and Sinhalese. He was not safe in the Sinhala-majority south, where he once commanded much respect and adoration.
However, his son Namal Rajapaksa told AFP that his father “will not flee” Sri Lanka.
Amid fears of military rule flagged by some past and present leaders, the Defence Ministry secretary, who was a controversial top field commander during the war, said: “There is no danger of a military coup in Sri Lanka. It is very difficult to do such a thing in this country. I say it with full responsibility.”
Army chief Shavendra Silva said troops in armoured personnel carriers were deployed across the island, including in Colombo, to contain violence.
“We are using Buffels (armoured cars) to carry our troops,” he told reporters, on camouflaged military vehicles being spotted in the capital.