Vice President Ahmed Adeeb declared unwavering loyalty to President Abdulla Yameen today, dismissing speculation of his involvement in a blast on the president’s speedboat last week.
Speaking to the press for the first time since the explosion on September 28, Adeeb said he could not go to the airport to receive the president because he was coughing and ill the previous night.
As he would also have been onboard the “Finifenma” speedboat, Adeeb said the “attack or threat was aimed at myself also.”
He would regret his absence “for the rest of my life,” he said, adding that suspicion would still have been cast on him even if he had been on the speedboat.
Adeeb said he is blamed over every major incident that occurs in the Madives.
“A lot of politicians will spread such rumours to kill off my political future and destroy the support I’m getting. But I don’t want to give any response. I remain steadfast,” he said.
Adeeb said rivals were envious of his meteoric rise to power.
“I did not come to power because I belonged to a certain family, or because I was friends with certain people,” he added.
The vice president held the press conference at the Progressive Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) office this afternoon alongside MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla. Both are deputy leaders of the ruling party. The press conference was broadcast live on private Sangu TV and Raajje TV.
Adeeb began the press conference by strongly condemning the attack and vowed that the government would bring the perpetrators to justice. Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the PPM’s leader, also condemned the attack while the press conference was ongoing.
PPM strongly condemns the cowardly attack on life of President & First Lady. We urge authorities to bring to justice whoever is responsible.
— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) October 7, 2015
Adeeb said he has stood “unwaveringly” by Yameen since the PPM’s presidential primary in early 2013.
Yameen had secured his appointment as tourism minister in early 2012, he continued, vowing that his political future will be alongside the president.
“I am, God willing, someone who has come this far in the political scene from the path that President Yameen showed me, for sure I am not someone that will be greedy. I will always stay where President Yameen keeps me, before tourism minister, now God willing, I am vice president. If president Yameen wants I will even step back,” he said.
He also dismissed rumours that his passport had been withheld and that he had been questioned over the incident.
On the suspension of his military bodyguards yesterday, Adeeb said it was part of changes to the military’s Special Protection Group (SPG) and that he was duly informed.
The SPG’s head, Colonel Ahmed Fayaz ‘Papa,’ was replaced and transferred to the post of of Malé area commander earlier this week.
The SPG was also split into two branches and a special division was created for the president’s security. The other division will focus on providing personal security for other state officials, such as ministers and Supreme Court justices.
Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror meanwhile carried a story on Tuesday night citing sources who told the newspaper that an explosive device had been planted under the helmsman’s seat inside the boat’s cabin.
“We believe this is not an assassination attempt, but a mere warning to the President. The final investigation report will be handed to the Sri Lankan government today for the onward transmission to the Maldivian government,” the source was quoted as saying.
Credible sources have identified to The Maldives Independent the two soldiers who were arrested as Ahmed Thiham and Moosa Zameer. Both have access to the state armoury and one is reportedly an explosives expert.
A third man named Mohamed Javaaz, who works at the department of immigration, was also arrested.
Mohamed Hussain Shareef, presidential affairs minister, told Reuters that the two soldiers were “in line of command who had access to the vessel.”