A man related to detained former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was arrested on a charge of planning an arson attack in Malé on Friday, The Maldives Independent understands.
Ismail Ali, a police spokesman, confirmed that a 27-year old man had been arrested with a court warrant on “suspicion of organizing multiple arson attacks by third parties in Malé.”
Ismail declined to identify the suspect or his relatioship to Adeeb, but said a court has remanded the suspect for an additional seven days.
A source close to Adeeb identified the man as Shahid Hussain, a cousin of the former vice president.
Adeeb’s arrest in October, on suspicion of links to a blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat, had exacerbated a crisis triggered by the jailing of opposition leaders and revealed massive embezzlement of public funds.
Tension is high in Malé as the government battles mounting pressure over allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.
Adeeb is now standing trial on corruption and terror charges that are not related to the boat blast.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party claimed earlier this month that it has damning evidence of Yameen’s involvement in terrorism financing, money laundering and bribery, some of which came from analyses conducted on Adeeb’s personal laptops.
The government has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
Since Adeeb’s arrest, several of his associates have been placed under arrest on a variety of charges. This includes the head of state tourism promotion firm Abdulla Ziyath, influential businessman Hamid Ismail, who was arrested and extradited from Malaysia, and 18-year old social media celebrity Ahmed ‘Shumba Gong’ Ashraf.
Ashraf’s extradition from Sri Lanka had strained relations between the two countries.
The government has declared a manhunt for an additional seven men linked to Adeeb.
Yameen, who has publicly accused his deputy of bribing the security forces and corruption, has also purged several ministers, soldiers and police officers seen as Adeeb loyalists from his government.
Yameen had also declared an unprecedented state of emergency in November, citing imminent bomb attacks and loss of weapons from the state armoury. Adeeb was impeached in a rushed and controversial vote soon a day after the emergency was declared.
The government insists the explosion was caused by a bomb targeting the president, despite contradicting findings from international forensic experts. Adeeb meanwhile claims the blast was staged to frame him.