Maldives ex-president Nasheed, wounded in blast, undergoing surgery

FILE PHOTO: Maldives former President Mohamed Nasheed leaves a private apartment in Sri Lanka to return in his country, after living in exile between London and Colombo for over two and a half years, Colombo, Sri Lanka November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

MALE (Reuters) – Maldives’ former president Mohamed Nasheed was undergoing surgery on Friday after he was hit by shrapnel from a bomb blast outside his home, his party said.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for Thursday’s explosion in the capital Male that has revived security concerns in the tropical islands known for its luxury resorts.

Nasheed, who is currently speaker of parliament, was getting into his car when the blast occurred. Local media reports suggested that a home-made explosive device was planted on a motorcycle parked near his car.

He was rushed to hospital for treatment of his wounds. “He is stable, surgeries ongoing,” a spokesperson from Nasheed’s ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said on Friday.

The archipelago has been known in the past for political unrest as well as Islamist militant violence.

In 2015, former president Abdulla Yameen escaped unharmed after an explosion on his speedboat, while a 2007 blast blamed on Islamist militants targeted foreign tourists and injured 12 people.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a close ally of Nasheed, said Thursday’s blast was an attack on Maldives’ “democracy and economy.”

The government is seeking technical support from foreign partners in the case and a team from the Australian Federal Police is expected to join the investigation on Saturday, Solih said in a statement late on Thursday.

Nasheed is the island’s first democratically elected president and has frequently warned of extremist groups penetrating in the Islamic nation.

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