Maldives VP arrested over blast on president's boat

Maldives Vice President Ahmed Adheeb arrested in probe over explosion targeting President Abdulla Yameen

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Maldives Home Minister Umar Naseer addresses the press in Male, Maldives, October 20, 2015

Updated Oct 25, 2015

Maldives authorities on Saturday arrested Vice President Ahmed Adheeb on suspicion of being linked to a speedboat explosion that allegedly targeted President Abdulla Yameen.

The explosion occurred on September 28, as the boat reached the main jetty in the capital of Male, when Yameen and his wife Fathimath Ibrahim were returning from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The president was not hurt but his wife and an aide suffered minor injuries while a body guard sustained relatively serious injuries.

Yameen described his deputy as "a threat to national security" on Sunday, following Adheeb's arrest. "The vice president is being detained for the safety and security of the entire nation," Yameen said in a nationally televised address.

Yameen also claimed bomb-making equipment had been discovered during raids on the homes of Adheeb's associates in the capital on Saturday.

"During raids on close associates of Adeeb, police found bomb-making material," the president said. "There are many allegations concerning the vice president," he added.

"We have arrested the vice president in relation to the Finifenmaa incident. He is now in police custody in Dhoonidhoo detention centre," a police media officer told Reuters. 

A court Sunday ordered Adeeb to be detained for 15 days to give police more time for investigations.

Umar Naseer, Minister of Home Affairs, said Adheeb will be charged with "high treason."

Adheeb denied has he had any connection to the explosion.

The president survived the explosion because he wasn’t sitting on his usual seat, the government later said.

Maldives' international airport is situated on a separate island away from the capital, and so passengers have to board a short boat trip in order to reach the city center. The country is heavily reliant on the tourist industry, being a popular destination of beach goers for many years, however its image has been affected by recent prolonged political unrest.

TRTWorld and agencies