Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed is aware after a life-saving operation, his family said on Saturday, as police made two arrests in connection with an explosion they said was being treated as a terrorist attack.
Nasheed, the chairman of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party and the current speaker of parliament, was seriously injured after a bomb exploded as he left his family home in the capital Malé on Thursday.
Police and prosecutors said on Saturday they arrested two men linked to Islamic extremism in connection with the blast.
“According to the people arrested so far and the information we have, there is a link with extremism,” Attorney General Hussain Shameem told reporters.
A third man is wanted in connection with the attack, he said, adding that police believed several other people were involved in the planning and execution of the attack.
“I’m fine,” Nasheed said after he stopped breathing, according to a tweet from his sister Nashida Sattar.
His brother, Ibrahim Nashid, said doctors were happy with Nasheed’s recovery.
“He has no more vitality and breathes on his own,” he said in a tweet. “I managed to exchange a few words. Promised to come back stronger. I believe him. “
The medical team who treated Nasheed told reporters on Saturday that the metal ball bearings used in the explosion caused significant internal damage, but missed major organs and arteries.
A projectile that hit Nasheed’s lungs narrowly missed his heart because it hit a rib, medics said.
Nasheed is now conscious and receiving intensive care at ADK Hospital in Malé.
Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, is an open critic of Islamic extremism in the Sunni Muslim island archipelago.
The country has a reputation for political turmoil.
Nasheed was deposed and exiled in what he called a coup in 2012, while in 2015 former President Abdulla Yameen escaped unharmed after an explosion on his speedboat.
In 2007, an explosion blamed on Islamist militants targeted foreign tourists and injured 12 people.
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