Malé (Maldives) (AFP)
Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, who was seriously injured in an assassination attempt, was airlifted to Germany on Thursday for treatment, officials said.
The 53-year-old democracy pioneer and climate activist was the target of a remote-controlled bomb mounted on a motorcycle a week ago in the capital Malé.
He underwent 16 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from his liver, lungs and abdomen. The hospital released him on Thursday, clearing the way for a medical evacuation to Germany.
An ambulance surrounded by heavy security took Nasheed to the airport where a special flight awaited him.
Hospital workers posted a photo of Nasheed on social media in a blue medical jacket posing with four staff members.
Nasheed thanked staff in their first Twitter comment since the May 6 attack.
“Special thanks to the health sector in the Maldives,” Nasheed said. “By the grace of Allah, I remain committed to ensuring good democratic governance for the people. “
Police arrested three men in connection with the attack, which they said was linked to Islamic extremism.
There was no claim of responsibility, but Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party said religious extremists and political interests could be involved.
The Indian Ocean archipelago of 340,000 inhabitants is predominantly Muslim and has had contact with Islamic extremism in the past.
In October 2019, police arrested a suspected ISIS recruiter accused of sending dozens of Maldivians to Syria.
Nasheed ended decades of one-party rule in the Maldives and became its first democratically elected president in 2008, before being ousted in a coup in 2012.
He is known around the world for championing the fight against climate change and sea level rise that threaten the nation of 1,192 coral islands.
© 2021 AFP