Detained former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb had planned to set off a bomb during a historic anti-government protest on May Day last year, Home Minister Umar Naseer has alleged.
Speaking to the press today, Naseer said that an inquiry into a blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat had revealed that “an explosive device was prepared for the May Day rally,” and that “the case involved the former vice president.”
Adeeb remains the main suspect in the blast on Yameen’s speedboat in September, Naseer said. The alleged assassination plot has plunged the country into fresh crisis, with a purge of the security forces and discovery of massive embezzlement from state coffers.
Naseer said it is not clear if the May Day bomb was intended to injure, kill or threaten people. His comments follow similar allegations by Maldivian Democratic Party’s Chaisperson Ali Waheed.
In an interview with opposition-aligned Raajje TV, Waheed said government officials had planned to set off multiple bombs in Malé to control the demonstration.
Some 20,000 people had taken to the streets on the day over the jailing of opposition figures, including former President Mohamed Nasheed. The rally ended in violent clashes with the police and the arrest of hundreds.
Waheed claimed that bombs had been planted on the presidential speedboat Finifenmaa and a jammer vehicle in the president’s motorcade. The bombs would have been set off if protesters had managed to enter the main Republic Square, he added.
Naseer, who heads the national inquiry commission on the boat blast, linked the September blast with the May Day plot and said: “All these instructions came from the same person, on the instructions of Ahmed Adeeb.”
The former vice president, however, claims the blast was staged to frame him and has pledged support to the opposition. The MDP has also claimed evidence of government-involvement in organised crime, including terrorism financing and money laundering, based on information said to have been collected from Adeeb’s personal laptops.
Members of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives, who have sought to pin the blame for the government’s mishaps solely on Adeeb, have criticised the MDP’s links with him.
Naseer said today that the NIC’s findings directly implicate Adeeb in multiple acts of terror.
“The improvised explosive device was prepared on his direct orders. He had ordered the person who made it to ensure the boat explodes and sinks.”
He also alleged that Adeeb had brought in a Sri Lankan sniper to assassinate Yameen in October when the president escaped unharmed from the boat blast. Only First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim and two aides suffered minor injuries.
Naseer said that forensic analysis links the presidential speedboat bomb with a second bomb found near the statehouse Muleeaage and a third bomb found in a cache of weapons submerged on a reef in November. He also claimed that the presidential speedboat bomb had been handled at a luxury government flat Adeeb owned at the Rehendhi complex.
“I am confident the prosecutor general will press terrorism charges against Adeeb,” he added. The NIC had gathered enough evidence to win the case against the former vice president, he said.
A total of eight individuals are in police custody over the blast, the commission said. Some, including three arrested over the sniper plot, have been released.