MALE – Speaker of parliament and former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed was in intensive care on Friday after being seriously injured in a bomb blast outside his home, hospital officials said, in what police believe a terrorist attack.
No one has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s explosion in the capital MalÃ© which rekindled security concerns in the Indian Ocean islands, known for their luxury resorts but which have also faced political unrest and unrest. militant Islamist violence.
Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives who is now speaker of parliament, had previously warned against infiltrating activists into the Islamic country. He was getting into his car when the explosion occurred.
The United States was “saddened and concerned” by the attack and stood ready to help bring the perpetrators to justice, State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter said on Friday.
Local media said the blast was caused by a device planted on a motorcycle parked near his car.
Doctors operated to remove shrapnel from Nasheed, who was now in critical condition in intensive care, ADK hospital said.
“In the past 16 hours, he has undergone life-saving surgery for injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs,” the hospital said in a statement.
In 2015, former President Abdulla Yameen escaped unscathed after an explosion on his speedboat. In 2007, an explosion blamed on Islamist militants targeted foreign tourists and injured 12 people.
Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed said 450 police officers had been deployed to investigate the latest incident.
“We are treating this as a terrorist attack,” he told a press conference, adding that the level of threat to national security had been raised to its highest level of 3.
The government is seeking technical support from foreign partners in this matter. An Australian Federal Police team is expected to join the investigation on Monday.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a close ally of Nasheed, said Thursday’s explosion was an attack on national democracy and its economy.
(Reporting by Mohamed Junayd in Male and Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo; additional reporting by Simon Lewis in Washington; writing by Sanjeev Miglani; editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Edmund Blair) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +91 11 49548038; Reuters ) Mail: sanjeev.miglani @ thomsonreuters.com @ reuters.net))