Condemning a spate of fake text messages in Home Minister Umar Naseer’s name, the home ministry said today: “Naseer’s shoulder will be the first offered in defence of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration.”
Thazmeel Abdul Samad, the home ministry’s media coordinator, described the text messages as an “uncivilized act” to defame Naseer by parties envious of the trust placed in him by President Yameen.
The messages come amidst an investigation into an explosion on board the presidential speedboat on September 28. The government has said the blast was an assassination attempt.
Naseer is heading a six-member high ranking military and police inquiry into the explosion.
The first spate of text messages last week urged the media to save the country from Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
The second round of messages on Thursday night warned of an attack against opposition protesters.
Thazmeel has previously said that the messages were being sent using a software, “in an effort to destroy the minister’s reputation.”
Shortly after the messages went viral on social media, Naseer said in a tweet that the text messages were “fake.”
The texts followed the arrest of three soldiers in connection to a blast on the president’s speedboat.
Credible sources have identified the two soldiers as Ahmed Thiham and Moosa Zameer. Both have access to the state armoury and one is reportedly an explosives expert. The third man named Mohamed Javaaz works at the department of immigration.
Yameen escaped unhurt after the explosion on the “Finifenma” speedboat on September 28, but First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim suffered minor bone fractures and remains in hospital.
Yameen has since replaced the head of the military’s Special Protection Group (SPG) tasked with protecting the head of state and other state officials, and the head of the police service’s intelligence directorate.
Two of Adeeb’s bodyguards have been suspended indefinitely, according to local media.
Adeeb held a press conference on October 7 to declare “unwavering loyalty” to Yameen, and dismissed speculation of his involvement in the blast. He said he would regret his absence on the speedboat for the “rest of my life.” The suspension of his bodyguards was routine, he said.
Yameen and Naseer’s relationship has been fraught in the past, with Naseer accusing Yameen of illicit connections with gangs and the drug trade after he lost the ruling party’s presidential primaries to Yameen in 2013.
Naseer has since retracted the comments.
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.