Malé (Maldives) (AFP)
A third man has been arrested following the attempted assassination of former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, police said on Sunday, as they renewed their appeal for more information on another suspect.
The democracy pioneer and climate activist was seriously injured after a bomb attack in the capital Malé on Thursday evening which also injured a British national and two others, whom police blamed on “religious extremists”.
“We can confirm that a third individual was arrested in connection with the May 6 attack earlier today,” police said in a statement.
No other details about the man have been released.
Police also asked for more information about another man seen in the area where a bomb-rigged motorcycle was parked.
The owner of the motorcycle and another man were arrested on Saturday.
The bomb went off as Nasheed walked towards his car.
Family members tweeted that the 53-year-old ex-president, now speaker of parliament, remained in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
But he was able to speak to close relatives on Saturday after running out of life support, they added. There was no immediate update on his state of health at the hospital.
Nasheed underwent 16 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from his body and medics said a shard was narrowly missing his heart.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but officials from Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) alleged that religious extremists and political interests could be involved.
The Indian Ocean archipelago of 340,000 is predominantly Muslim, and in October 2019, police arrested a suspected ISIS recruiter accused of sending dozens of Maldivians to Syria.
The same man was accused of setting off a homemade bomb that injured 12 Chinese tourists in Malé in September 2007.
Nasheed ended decades of one-party rule in the Maldives and became its first democratically elected president in 2008, before being ousted in a military-backed coup in 2012.
He is known internationally as a champion in the fight against climate change and sea level rise which he says threaten to overwhelm the nation of 1,192 coral islands.
© 2021 AFP