President Yameen briefs MPs on assassination attempt

President Yameen briefs MPs on assassination attempt
October 12 15:15 2015

President Abdulla Yameen met with MPs of the ruling coalition and its former partner Jumhooree Party (JP) amid anxiety in Malé over an apparent assassination attempt on his speedboat in September.

The meeting between MPs of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), its ally Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), JP and Yameen at the state house Muleeaage began at 2:30pm and lasted more than two hours.

Yameen shared information on the explosion, said majority leader Ahmed Nihan and JP leader Gasim Ibrahim.

“The president initiated this meeting, also on the request of the PPM parliamentary group. The president did not make any requests of MPs, other than to advise avoiding blame games and for MPs to continue with their work,” Nihan said.

Yameen escaped unhurt from the September 28 explosion, but First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim remains hospitalized. Citing the findings of an investigation by a team of multi-national experts, the government has said the blast was an assassination attempt.

Three soldiers were arrested last week. Two of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s bodyguards have been suspended.

When questioned on Adeeb’s absence at the meeting Nihan said: “I don’t think such meetings have been held in the past. This meeting was arranged by the head of state to share information with MPs. We have had such meetings before at the IGMH [Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital], for hours, with PPM parliamentary group and also Gasim Ibrahim himself. This has nothing to do with the vice president.” 

Adeeb last week declared his unwavering loyalty to Yameen at a press conference and dismissed speculation of his involvement in the blast.

When asked if the JP stands with the government, Gasim said: “JP also stands with the government and the citizens.” The government in May froze bank accounts of Gasim’s Villa Group after his JP allied with the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.

Yameen was accompanied by cabinet minister Mohamed Hussein Shareef. Vice President Ahmed Adeeb is not present.

All MPs were asked to give up their phones.

The PPM and MDA parliamentary group comprises of 49 MPs. The JP holds 11 seats in the People’s Majlis.

The president met with the Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed and senior police officers at the police headquarters yesterday.

Yameen has set up an inquiry commission comprising of six senior military and police officers. Home Minister Umar Naseer is heading the commission.

The head of the police intelligence directorate and the head of the military’s special protection group, tasked with providing security to the president, were replaced.

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.