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Sri Lankan sniper, hired to ‘assassinate president,’ detained in Maldives

A Sri Lankan national has been arrested on a charge of attempting to assassinate Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, the police revealed today.



A Sri Lankan national has been arrested on a charge of attempting to assassinate the president of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, the police revealed today.

The 27-year-old man was hired by Maldivians to kill Yameen using a firearm, the police said in a statement.

He was arrested on October 24, the same day former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was detained on suspicion of links to an explosion on Yameen’s speedboat. The government says the blast was targeted at killing the president.

“A Sri Lankan national, 27 years, is being held in police custody… he was arrested on October 24, 2015, on suspicion of attempting to kill the President of the Maldives using a weapon,” the police statement read.

The criminal court has now remanded the man for a period of 15 days.

The police declined to comment further.

According to local media, the man is a sniper. Colombo-based Daily Mirror, citing the defence ministry, has said the sniper was not attached to the Sri Lankan military.

The Sri Lankan man’s arrest is the latest shocking development here since the September 28 blast.

Yameen, on Wednesday, declared an unprecedented nationwide state of emergency for 30 days, citing fear of imminent attacks.

The security forces earlier this month seized a large cache of weapons from a reef. Some of the weapons included firearms missing from the state armoury, they said.

The security forces also said they defused a bomb found near the presidential palace last week. Since then three bomb scares were reported in the capital.

The former vice president appears to be the main suspect in the boat blast. He is now facing separate charges of corruption and possession of illegal weapons.

The ruling party-dominated People’s Majlis on Thursday impeached him in a sudden vote without providing him the opportunity to speak in his defence. Adeeb’s lawyers have labeled the vote unconstitutional, saying it lacked due process.

The police have now raided some 20 buildings linked to Adeeb and his associates over the boat blast.

At least a dozen individuals have been arrested over the explosion. They include senior military officers and explosives experts.