The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has found no evidence an explosive device caused the blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
The government, citing forensic analysis by Sri Lankan and Saudi Arabian forensic experts, has fervently claimed the September 28 explosion was caused by a bomb targeting Yameen.
The explosion has plunged Maldives into crisis once again; Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was arrested on suspicion of plotting the alleged assassination attempt, while the defence minister, the police chief and several top government officials have been dismissed.
“There is no conclusive evidence to attribute the explosion on the boat to an IED,” an FBI spokesman told the WSJ. The FBI had reportedly examined evidence from the scene and conducted chemical trace tests.
The president’s office in a tweet said the national inquiry commission set up for the boat blast probe will hold a press conference at 10:30am to address “the spread of false information over the FBI report.”
Home Minister Umar Naseer in an interview with the state broadcaster tonight said the WSJ’s report on the FBI’s findings were incomplete. “I have the FBI report with me. It says that they, they are unable to conclusively state, from their samples, that it was an explosive device. In no circumstances are they saying that it was not an explosive device.”
He tweeted afterwards:
FBI examiners did NOT conclude that there was no IED used in the blast. ie: they didnt rule out an IED on Finifennaa.
— Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) October 31, 2015
It is not clear if the Indians, who also conducted a forensic analysis, have shared their findings with the government yet.
The report comes hours after the security forces displayed a large cache of weapons – including firearms and improvised explosive devices – reportedly discovered on an island leased to Adeeb’s close associate.
RDX, a chemical Saudi Arabian experts say they found on Yameen’s speedboat, was also found in the cache, the security forces said. RDX is a chemical used to make powerful explosives.
Naseer, in his interview, said the Saudis and Americans are “equally competent.”
Adeeb, who is now facing impeachment, has said his innocence would be proven by an impartial inquiry. He was arrested from the airport soon after he stepped off a flight from Singapore.