Bomb scare in Maldives capital

Bomb scare in Maldives capital
February 14 15:00 2016

The military’s bomb squad has removed a suspected improvised explosive device found near the vacant presidential palace this morning.

Credible sources within the security services told The Maldives Independent that the IED was placed under a lorry parked at the intersection of Alikilegefaanu Magu and Hithahfinivaa Magu.

The police cordoned off the roads around Muleeage and officers from the military’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit were seen in the area wearing protective suits.

The IED was carried away in a military vehicle loaded with sacks of sand. A jammer vehicle was also spotted behind the Maldives National Defence Force vehicle.

The police media official directed inquiries to the military, but MNDF Spokesman Major Adnan was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

According to local media, the IED has been taken to Girifushi, an island near Malé used for military training exercises.

President Abdulla Yameen has been living in his private residence, Galolhu Dhoovehi, since assuming office in November 2013 and only uses Muleeage for meetings and official functions.

A bomb made out of stick dynamite was found near Muleeage on November 2 last year. The security services evacuated nearby buildings and defused the IED at the capital’s sports grounds.

Two days later, President Yameen declared an unprecedented nationwide state of emergency, citing fear of imminent attacks and threats to national security posed by missing weapons and explosives.

Three bomb scares were reported in the capital in the first 24 hours after the state of emergency was declared.

The home ministry said the three objects, which looked like improvised explosive devices, were left in public spaces in an attempt to incite fear.

The bomb scares followed the arrest of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on suspicion of plotting to assassinate the president. The government said the September 28 blast on the ‘Finifenma’ speedboat while the first couple was en route to Malé from the airport was caused by a bomb.

Yameen escaped unharmed, but First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim was hospitalised with spinal injuries.

Residents of Malé meanwhile reacted to the news of the alleged bombing attempts in November with disbelief and skepticism.

Opposition supporters also greeted the news of this morning’s bomb scare with skepticism on social media.