Maldives police says prime suspect in assault on ex-president Mohamed Nasheed arrested

Hospital officers mentioned Nasheed, at the moment the speaker within the Parliament, stays in an intensive care unit after preliminary life-saving surgical procedures to his head, chest, stomach and limbs

Maldives Police says prime suspect in attack on ex-president Mohamed Nasheed arrested

File picture of former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed. AP

Colombo: Maldives police mentioned on Sunday they arrested an individual believed to be the prime suspect in an explosion that critically wounded the nation’s former president and which was blamed on Muslim extremists.

Police mentioned they now have three of 4 suspects in custody. Thursday’s blast focused Mohamed Nasheed, at the moment the speaker of Parliament, who’s recovering in a hospital after a number of surgical procedures.

Police didn’t give particulars on the most recent suspect or his background, however in a textual content message confirmed that they consider he’s the particular person whose photos have been launched Saturday as authorities sought public help figuring out him. The fourth suspect stays at massive.

Officers blamed Islamic extremists for the assault, though investigators nonetheless do not know which group was accountable. Two of Nasheed’s bodyguards and two obvious bystanders, together with a British citizen, have been additionally wounded.

Nasheed has been an outspoken critic of spiritual extremism within the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, the place preaching and training different faiths are banned by regulation. He has been criticized by spiritual hard-liners for his closeness to the West and liberal insurance policies.

Hospital officers mentioned Nasheed, 53, stays in an intensive care unit after preliminary life-saving surgical procedures to his head, chest, stomach and limbs. A relative tweeted early Sunday that Nasheed had been capable of have lengthy conversations with some members of the family.

Shrapnel from the blast broken Nasheed’s intestines and liver, and a bit of shrapnel broke his rib and had been lower than a centimeter (0.4 inches) from his coronary heart, hospital officers mentioned.

Officers from the Australian Federal Police have been helping with the investigation, following a request from the Maldives. A British investigator was additionally set to reach within the Indian Ocean archipelago on Sunday.

Nasheed was the primary democratically elected president of the Maldives, serving from 2008 to 2012, when he resigned amid protests. He was defeated within the subsequent major election, and was ineligible for the 2018 race because of a jail sentence, however has remained an influential political determine.

He has championed world efforts to combat local weather change, notably warning that rising seas brought on by world warming threaten the archipelago nation’s low-lying islands.

The Maldives is understood for its luxurious resorts however has skilled occasional violent assaults. In 2007, a blast in a park within the capital wounded 12 international vacationers, and was additionally blamed on spiritual extremists.

The Maldives has one of many highest per capita numbers of militants who fought in Syria and Iraq alongside the Islamic State group.

Authorities introduced in January that eight individuals have been arrested in November have been discovered to have been planning to assault a college and have been within the strategy of constructing bombs in a ship at sea. Police mentioned the suspects performed army coaching on uninhabited islands and recruited kids.

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