Parliament questions police, army over boat blast

Parliament questions police, army over boat blast
October 15 22:12 2015

A subgroup of the parliament’s security services oversight committee met with senior police and military officers over an apparent assassination attempt on President Abdulla Yameen.

The emergency closed-door meeting began at 6pm and ended at 8pm.

Ahmed Nihan, the majority leader and the chair of the sub committee, told state TV that MPs want to investigate the explosion on Yameen’s speedboat on September 28 in order to support the president’s own inquiry.

In addition to Nihan, the subgroup consists of ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MPs Abdul Raheem Abdulla and Riyaz Rasheed, Jumhooree Party MP Ilham Ahmed, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) MP Ali Mauroof, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP Mariya Ahmed Didi and religious conservative Adhaalath Party’s Anara Naeem.

Abdulla, appearing on private Sangu TV at 9pm, described the explosion as a planned attack on Yameen’s life. Recalling the 241 committee’s meeting, he said he did not want to point fingers at any specific party.

When questioned on the speculation of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s involvement in the explosion, Abdulla said: “But my point is, whoever did this, we are certain this was planned very well by people who had a lot of resources and facilities, this could not have been carried out otherwise, and this happened on a speedboat under the army’s watch, so we know it was well-planned. But I cannot say a specific party is involved or not involved. I will not comment on that at all. The case is under investigation.

“We held a meeting of the 241 committee, a committee empowered by the constitution to oversee the army’s performance, and considering what was said in that meeting, I will not point a suspicious finger at anyone. I do not want it to adversely impact the investigation. I want a proper investigation to take place.”

Yameen escaped unhurt, but First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim remains hospitalized for injuries to her spine.

The president has set up a six-member inquiry commission of high-ranking military and police officers to investigate the explosion. Three soldiers have been arrested.

Defence minister Moosa Ali Jaleel was sacked on Wednesday. The head of the military unit tasked with providing security for state officials and the police intelligence were also replaced in what appears to be a shakeup of the security forces.

Two of Adeeb’s bodyguards have been suspended, and the police raided the apartment of a top tourism official, also a close associate of the vice president, last night. Police also attempted last night to enter the home of an influential businessman related to Adeeb.

The raids, which came a day after Adeeb departed for Beijing, has added fuel to the speculation that the vice president is a suspect in the boat blast probe.

On the eve of his departure, Adeeb had publicly declared his unwavering loyalty to Yameen for a second time and denounced rumors of his involvement in the blast.

Yameen meanwhile met with the Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed and more than 50 MPs of the ruling coalition and JP last week. Yameen had asked MPs to accept the outcome of the investigation, whatever it may be.

Correction: October 17, 2015: This article previously said two soldiers and an immigration official were arrested in connection to the boat blast. This is incorrect. All three arrested over the explosion are MNDF officers. An immigration official was never arrested in this case. 

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