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Maldives leader: Blast that hurt Nasheed attacked democracy

Maldivian police officers secure the area following a blast in Male, Maldives, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Maldives' first democratically elected president...
FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed delivers a lecture on climate change in New Delhi, India. Nasheed ...

Maldivian police officers secure the area following a blast in Male, Maldives, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Maldives' first democratically elected president...

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed delivers a lecture on climate change in New Delhi, India. Nasheed ...

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The Maldives president said Friday an explosion that wounded former leader Mohamed Nasheed was an attack on the country’s democracy and economy and said Australian police would assist the investigation.

Nasheed, 53, was injured in the blast Thursday night outside his home and was being treated in a hospital in the capital, Male, police said. Home Minister Imran Abdulla told a local television that Nasheed’s injuries were not life-threatening.

He is the current Parliament speaker and was the Maldives’ first democratically elected president, serving from 2008 to 2012.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said in a televised speech Friday that Australian Federal Police investigators will arrive in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation on Saturday.

Neither Solih nor police have given further details on the attack and no one has claimed responsibility.

Photos circulated on social media showed a ripped-up motorcycle at the scene.

Neighboring India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in a tweet described the blast as an attack on Nasheed.

“Wish him a speedy recovery. Know that he will never be intimidated,” Jaishankar said.

The presidency of Nasheed ended a 30-year autocratic rule, but his own term ended when he resigned amid protests. He was defeated in the following presidential election and became ineligible to enter the 2018 election due to a prison sentence. His party colleague Solih won the 2018 presidential election.

Nasheed remained an influential political figure and was elected Parliament speaker in 2019.

Nasheed has championed global efforts to fight climate change, particularly warning that rising seas caused by global warming threaten the low-lying islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

He has also been an outspoken critic of religious extremism in this predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where preaching and practicing other faiths are banned by law.

Maldives is known for its luxury resort islands but has seen rare violent attacks. In 2007, a blast in a park in the capital wounded 12 foreign tourists.

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Associated Press journalist Krishan Francis contributed to this report from Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Updated : 2021-06-24 08:50 GMT+08:00