Former Maldives President recovering after bombing

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has regained consciousness following a bomb attack outside his family home on Thursday. Nasheed is currently the parliamentary speaker and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

Nasheed announced “I’m good,” according to a tweet by his sister Nashida Sattar. His brother Ibrahim Nashid explained that doctors were “very happy” with Nasheed’s recovery.

Following the attack on Thursday, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced that an investigation is under way. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Maldivian police have called the attack a “deliberate act of terror.” The police explained that three of Nasheed’s military bodyguards and two civillians suffered minor injuries from the blast.

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid tweeted on the evening of the attack: “Cowardly attacks like these have no place in our society. My thoughts and prayers are with President Nasheed and others injured in this attack, as well as their families.”

Speaking to AFP a Maldivian Democratic Party official explained “It looks like some sort of an improvised explosive device, possibly rigged up to a parked motorcycle.”

Nasheed was the first democratically elected president, taking office following 2008 elections and ending Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30 years in power. It was in 2015 that Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges which many saw as politically motivated accusations.

By 2016, Nasheed had been granted asylum in the United Kingdom, only returning to the Maldives in 2018 after his nominee President Solih won office. Nasheed won a parliamentary election in 2019 and then became the parliamentary speaker.

Speaking on the attack, deputy director of the Asia Program Michael Kugelman explained “The fact that you have a former president who is still a very prominent political figure and a very prominent democratic leader in a region that is now marked by strongmen and hard-line nationalists … is quite a big deal.”

This is not the first prominent attack in the Maldives. In 2015, President Abdulla Yameen escaped unharmed after an explosion on his speedboat. Then in 2019, journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla was killed by local affiliates of al-Qaeda, having gone missing in 2014. Liberal blogger Yameen Rasheed, who had been campaigning to find Rilwan, was killed in 2017.

Philip English, is a member of the YCL’s Manchester Branch

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