Five arrested from president’s flight

Five arrested from president’s flight
January 02 15:28 2016

Five Maldivians were arrested from a Bangkok Airways flight on Thursday after a family of tourists complained to the crew and refused to travel on the plane.

The presence of President Abdulla Yameen and First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim on the flight was “a coincidence” and unrelated to the incident onboard the airplane, the police said in a statement.

After questioning both the tourists and the five Maldivian men, the police determined that the locals had not endangered the flight’s security.

“When it became clear that the Maldivians had not done anything that could affect the security of the flight they were released after the investigation,” the police said.

The tourists had complained “because of the way they perceived the incident.”

Contrary to rumours and media reports, the police also said that the Maldivians had not joked about a bomb onboard the airplane.

A source at the airport told The Maldives Independent that the five men were members of local boduberu (traditional drumming) band ‘Harubee.’

Following a long delay, the flight took off after all the passengers and their luggage were removed and rechecked by airport security. However, the president and first lady were not on the flight.

In their first overseas trip since the September 28 blast on the president’s speedboat, the first couple departed later that night on a Singapore Airlines flight.

The blast on the ‘Finifema’ speedboat occurred while the president was en route to Malé from the airport after arriving from Saudi Arabia.

Three soldiers, former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and several of his associates are under police custody on suspicion of plotting to assassinate the president. The government says a bomb targeting the president caused the explosion.

In his first official visit to Thailand since assuming office in November 2013, the president is also scheduled to meet Thailand’s prime minister, according to the president’s office