The Maldives police chief Hussain Waheed has just been sacked amidst an escalating struggle for influence at the country’s top leadership over an alleged assassination attempt on President Abdulla Yameen.
Waheed, who is out of the country in Singapore on medical leave, has been offered the post of state minister at housing, the president’s office has confirmed. “The changes have been brought under powers granted to the president, and to improve the running of the government,” said Ibrahim Muaz Ali on state TV.
Deputy commissioners Hassan Habeeb and Mohamed Sadiq were also transferred to the ministry of housing and ministry of law and gender, respectively, as deputy state ministers, read a statement from the president’s office.
The police intelligence chief Ahmed Areef was promoted to the post of deputy police commissioner, the president’s office said. Areef is now in charge of the police force.
A police spokesman declined to comment on Waheed’s dismissal. The president’s office was not responding to calls.
Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, an apparent suspect in the blast on Yameen’s speedboat on September 28, is scheduled to return to the Maldives tomorrow.
— Ahmed Adeeb (@Ahmed_Adeeb) October 23, 2015
Adeeb had delayed his arrival in Malé after concluding an official visit to China in the wake of several raids on the homes of two of his close associates. He went to Singapore from Beijing.
In the first direct move on the vice president, police seized footage from the security cameras at the entrances to two of his residence on Wednesday.
His supporters have called on the public to receive Adeeb at the presidential jetty at 11am tomorrow.
Police also arrested Abdulla Ziyath, the managing director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) at around 7pm today. A spokesman refused to comment on the charges against Ziyath.
Ziyath’s arrest comes a week after police raided his home and shut down the MMPRC offices. Since then, he has been summoned to the police headquarters three times.
Police are investigating the MMPRC’s alleged illegal import of fireworks.
Three soldiers have been arrested and the defence minister Moosa Jaleel has been sacked in a shake-up of the security forces.
Several government officials who are seen as loyal to Adeeb have also been dismissed.
Home Minister Umar Naseer has said that a bomb targeting Yameen caused the explosion on the boat. Sri Lankan forensic experts have confirmed that the blast was caused by an explosive device, he said.
Correction: October 23, 2015: Habeeb was given the post of deputy minister at housing ministry, and not the home ministry, while Areef’s promotion to deputy commissioner was confirmed by the president’s office. This article has been amended to correct the error.