MALE, Maldives (AP) – The first democratically elected President of the Maldives and current Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, was injured in an explosion near his home on Thursday and was treated in a hospital, police said.
Interior Minister Imran Abdulla told local television that Nasheed’s injuries were not life threatening and that the government would get help from foreign agencies in the investigations.
Police said they were investigating and urged people to avoid the area of the blast in the capital, Male, in a text message that did not give further details.
Photos posted on social media showed a torn motorcycle at the scene, but police did not say whether the explosion was an assassination attempt. However, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, a neighbor, tweeted the explosion as an attack on Nasheed.
“I wish him a speedy recovery. Know that he will never be intimidated, ”Jaishankar said.
Nasheed, now 53, became the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives after 30 years of autocratic rule. He was president from 2008 to 2012, when he resigned amid protests. He was defeated in the next presidential election and became ineligible for the 2018 election due to a prison sentence. His party colleague Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the 2018 presidential election.
In 2019, Nasheed was elected Speaker of Parliament and he has remained an influential politician.
Nasheed has championed global efforts to tackle climate change, especially warning that rising seas caused by global warming threaten the low lying islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
He also openly criticized religious extremism in this predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where preaching and practicing other religions is prohibited by law.
The Maldives are known for their luxury resort islands, but have seen rare violent attacks. In 2007, an explosion in a park in the capital injured 12 foreign tourists.
Associated Press reporter Krishan Francis contributed to this report from Colombo, Sri Lanka.