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Former Maldives President Wounded in Assassination Bid

Former Maldives President Wounded in Assassination Bid

Friday, 7 May, 2021 - 10:00
Armed police units and security forces cordoned off the area where the attack took place | AFP

Former Maldives president and current parliamentary speaker Mohamed Nasheed underwent more surgery Friday following an assassination attempt but his condition was described as stable.

The Indian Ocean archipelago's first democratically elected leader was seriously injured when a device attached to a motorcycle was detonated as he got into a car in the capital late Thursday, an official said.

"Nasheed escaped an assassination attempt," a Maldivian government official told AFP. "He is injured, but his condition is stable."

The private ADK hospital said the 53-year-old required further surgery following a thorough assessment of his condition.

The hospital did not give further details, but a family member said shrapnel was removed from a lung and his liver.

"We are hopeful of a full recovery," he said, adding that Nasheed was responsive and spoke with doctors as he was admitted. One of his bodyguards was also taken to hospital.

Officials said the motorcycle with the device attached was parked down the narrow lane leading to Nasheed's home.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a close ally of Nasheed, said an investigation was underway as officials rushed to denounce the targeted attack on the country's second most powerful figure.

"Cowardly attacks like these have no place in our society," Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said in a tweet.

There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday's bomb attack, but officials close to Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said they suspected vested political interests opposed to his anti-corruption drive.

Nasheed has vowed to investigate a $90-million theft from the state's tourism promotion authority during the tenure of former president Abdulla Yameen.

"There are some dormant militants who could have collaborated with political elements threatened by Nasheed's anti-corruption drive," an MDP source told AFP.

The government has cracked down on extremism and foreign preachers are banned. Violent attacks have been rare. However, a dozen foreign tourists were wounded by a bomb blast in Male in 2007.

The ISIS group claimed a boat arson attack last year but there is little evidence the group has a presence in the archipelago.

Former president Abdulla Yameen claimed he survived an assassination attempt following a blast aboard his yacht in September 2015. He was unhurt.

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