The authorities remain tightlipped over the investigation of a blast onboard the president’s speedboat on Monday, almost a week after the unexplained explosion.
A police media official told The Maldives Independent that updates could not be revealed at the current stage of the investigation. The police have been taking statements from journalists who witnessed the incident from the Izzudin jetty as well as crew from the ‘Finifenma’ speedboat, the official said.
Agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and forensic experts from Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia were assisting the investigation along with the military. The foreign experts have since left the Maldives.
Parts of the speedboat have also been sent abroad for forensic analysis, the media official said.
The government’s silence has fuelled speculation among the public, with suspicion cast on religious extremists and government officials.
Government officials have also made conflicting statements to the international media. Mohamed Hussain Shareef, presidential affairs minister, told the press in Colombo that the blast was probably caused by a mechanical failure.
“We are looking at an accident rather than sabotage,” he was quoted as saying.
Shareef also dismissed any link between the explosion and the ongoing political crisis triggered by the imprisonment of former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defence Mohamed Nazim, and other opposition politicians.
“We have no reason to believe that anyone would want to assassinate the president,” he said.
“Our opposition is vocal but not violent to carry out something like this.”
However, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon told the AP that “it is likely that it was a targeted attack against the president”.
An assassination attempt would be unprecedented, Dunya said, but declined to speculate on any connection to local politics or religious extremism.
She added: “There are potentially many sources it could have come from.”
The blast occurred around 8:00am on September 28 while President Abdulla Yameen was returning to Malé after performing the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Journalists awaiting the president at the Izzudin jetty heard a loud blast just before the speedboat docked at the pier, and saw the door on the speedboat fall off its hinges.
Yameen escaped unhurt, but First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim suffered minor bone fractures while a presidential aide and bodyguard also sustained injuries. All three were hospitalised.
The aide, Fathmath Mohamed Solih, has been released after treatment, but the first lady and the bodyguard remain at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).
On Thursday, dozens of government supporters carrying white roses, flower bouquets, and get-well-soon cards visited the first lady at IGMH. The supporters reportedly met the first lady individually.
The first lady is politically active and manages Yameen’s campaign office. Last month, the campaign office organised symposiums in Malé to train ruling party members from across the country for Yameen’s re-election bid in 2018.
— Moosa Anvar #PPM2018 (@moosaanvar) October 1, 2015
Weekend roundup: Undocumented migrant workers fill up stadium
Thursday roundup: U-turn on impeachment of chief prosecutor
News in brief: mosquito traps and internet prices
Wednesday roundup: Chief justice challenges watchdog inquiry
News in brief: Single-parent allowance and tenants rights
Warehouse fire in Maldives capital claims one life
Maldives coral reefs show signs of resilience and recovery
Minivan Brief: Weaponised Islam and #MvTreeGrab
More than 400 people displaced in Malé warehouse fire
News in brief: 150kg of heroin seized en route to Maldives
Crime1 month ago
Immigration stopped 11 ‘imposters’ with fake passports
Crime3 months ago
Charges raised over street harassment for first time in Maldives
Crime3 months ago
Ex-vice president detained in India after fleeing Maldives
Politics2 months ago
‘Terrorist group’ behind Rilwan’s abduction
Society & Culture2 months ago
Five dead in tragic accident at sea
Politics2 months ago
Maldives backs India’s ‘right to amend laws as required’
Business & Tourism3 months ago
India becomes second largest market for Maldives tourism
Crime2 months ago
Rilwan killed by Maldives group linked to al-Qaeda, presidential commission reveals