Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives and speaker of parliament, remains in hospital after bomb which left him with large shrapnel lesions and strange Indian Ocean islands.
A 53-year-old man had just left his home in the capital, Male, and was about to get into his car Thursday when a bomb near a motorcycle exploded. Residents say the blast was heard in the city.
Nasheed suffered frequent injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment, including surgery. Foreign Minister Imran Abdulla told local media that Nasheed’s injuries were not serious. One of Nasheed’s bodyguards also went to the hospital.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih went to the hospital where Nasheed, a close friend, was using him and called for an emergency meeting after the attack.
Liver surgery should be 7 hours but may take more due to minor complications. 🥺 Think of him in your prayers on Friday! Ask Allah to forgive her sins and give her a painless recovery 🙏🏽❤️
– Susan 🔆 (@SusanIbrahim) May 7, 2021
Solih said Friday the eruption was “an uprising against democracy” and tourism-dependent resources in the Maldives, and announced that Australian police investigators would arrive on Saturday to assist in the investigation.
The president or the police have not said much about the attack and no one has said they will take action.
“Nasheed survived an assassination attempt,” a Maldivian official told AFP. “She’s injured, but she’s fine.”
Video footage depicts a motorcycle that was damaged during the attack, which was surrounded by armed police and security forces.
Meanwhile, many Maldivian officials and their citizens have taken to social media to criticize the show and want Nasheed to be spared.
Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar also spoke highly of the protests and said Nasheed “will not be intimidated”.
Strongly condemn the attack on the Speaker of Parliament, the President @Alireza this evening. Such fears have no place in our world. My thoughts and prayers are with President Nasheed and other injured people, as well as their families.
– Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) May 6, 2021
Most affected by the attack on the Speaker @Alireza. I wish him a speedy recovery. Rest assured that they will not be intimidated.
– Dr. Aliraza Aliraza (@alirazaaliraza) May 6, 2021
People living around 3 blocks were shocked by the loud bang.
I don’t think that must have happened to Nasheed, his security team and all the people around him.
aliraza (@ alirazaaliraza414) May 6, 2021
“This is very important, not only in theory but also in purpose,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program and affiliates in South Asia at the Wilson Center, told Al Jazeera.
“The fact that you have a former president who is very popular in politics and an independent democratic leader in a region that is now characterized by strong and patriotic people … is a big thing,” Kugelman said.
Nasheed in 2008 became the first democratically elected President in the Maldives, ending the 30-year rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
But in 2012, he was forced to step down. In a rigged election the following year, he was defeated by Gayoom’s brother, Abdulla Yameen.
In 2015, Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorist charges. The following year, he was released from prison on parole in London. Nasheed was granted asylum in the United Kingdom in 2016 and returned to the Maldives after his successor, Solih, won the 2018 Presidential election, after being defeated by Yameen.
In 2019, he went on to win parliamentary elections and become the second-largest speaker in the country.
Nasheed encouraged international efforts to combat climate change and also called for a “religious” protest against the Maldives, a Sunni country where preaching and practicing other religions is banned by law.
Kugelman said political experiments “were always possible” the blast that injured Nasheed and added “there is a history of Islam in the Maldives.”
A country of about 340,000 people, a popular resort in the Indian Ocean, has seen rare violence, including independent journalists. About 300 Maldives have been reported to have gone to Syria to join ISIL (ISIS) in fighting the war.
The military said they had set fire to the Maldives last year but there was no evidence that the group had been found on the islands.
In 2019, researchers He said Journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, who went missing in 2014, was assassinated by an Al-Qaeda colleague, openly admitting for the first time that a strong group exists and is trying to silence the Maldives.
Yameen Rasheed, a well-known blogger who led the campaign for Rilwan, was killed in 2017.