Three of the four suspects allegedly behind the explosion that critically injured the former president are in custody.
Maldives police said Sunday they had arrested a person believed to be the prime suspect in an explosion that critically injured the country’s former president.
Police said they now have three of the four suspects in custody. Thursday’s blast targeted Mohamed Nasheed, the current speaker of parliament, who is recovering in hospital after several surgeries.
Police did not give details about the latest suspect or his background, but in a text message he confirmed that he believes it is the person whose images were posted on Saturday while authorities asked for public help in identifying him. The fourth suspect remains at large.
Officials blamed religious “extremists” for the attack, although investigators still do not know which group was responsible. Two of Nasheed’s bodyguards and two apparent passers-by, including a British citizen, were also injured.
Nasheed has been a outspoken critic of religious supporters of the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where the law forbids preaching and practicing other denominations. Religious critics have been criticized for their proximity to the West and liberal policies.
Hospital officials said Nasheed, 53, remains in an intensive care unit after the first surgeries that saved her head, chest, abdomen and limbs. A family member tweeted early Sunday that Nasheed had been able to hold long conversations with some family members.
A shrapnel from the blast damaged Nasheed’s intestines and liver, and a piece of shrapnel broke his rib and had been less than an inch (0.4 inches) from his heart, officials said. ‘hospital.
Australian federal police officers were assisting in the investigation, following a request from the Maldives. A British researcher was also scheduled to arrive in the Indian Ocean archipelago on Sunday.
Nasheed was the first democratically elected president in the Maldives, serving from 2008 to 2012, when he resigned amid protests. He was defeated in subsequent presidential elections and was not eligible for the 2018 race due to a prison sentence, but has remained an influential political figure.
He has defended global efforts to combat climate change, and has especially warned that the rising sea caused by global warming threatens the nation’s low islands in the archipelago.
The Maldives is known for its luxury resorts, but they have occasionally experienced violent attacks. In 2007, an explosion in a park in the capital injured 12 foreign tourists and was also blamed on harsh religious people.
The Maldives has one of the highest per capita fighters fighting in Syria and Iraq alongside the ISIL (ISIS) group.
Authorities announced in January that eight people arrested in November had planned to attack a school and were in the process of building bombs on a ship at sea. Police said the suspects conducted military training on uninhabited islands and recruited children.