Alarm over explosion that injured former Maldives president

Australian police to assist investigation into blast that injured Mohamed Nasheed

Several countries expressed concern over the bombing in Maldives that injured parliament speaker and former president Mohamed Nasheed, with a former top UN official describing it as an "ominous development" for the country.

Mr Nasheed, 53, is being treated in a hospital in the capital, Male, for injuries suffered in the blast outside his home on Thursday night. Home Minister Imran Abdulla told local television that the injuries were not life-threatening.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih condemned the "attack on the country's democracy and economy" and said the Australian police would assist in the investigation.

"We are treating this matter with utmost seriousness," he said.

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on Twitter that he was shocked to learn of the attack on Mr Nasheed, and that "Australia stands with the Maldives".

The embassies of Switzerland and China called the attack heinous and violent, while Indian MP Shashi Tharoor, a former undersecretary general of the United Nations, wrote on Twitter that "political violence is an ominous development for the Maldives".

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described the blast as an attack on Mr Nasheed.

“Wish him a speedy recovery. Know that he will never be intimidated,” Mr Jaishankar said in a tweet.

Mr Nasheed's election as president in 2008 ended 30 years of autocratic rule in the Maldives. His term ended when he resigned amid widespread protests in 2012. He was defeated in the following presidential election. He was ineligible to enter the 2018 election because of a prison sentence.

He remains an influential political figure in the Maldives and was elected parliament speaker in 2019.

Mr Nasheed championed global efforts to fight climate change, warning that rising seas caused by global warming threatened the low-lying islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

He is also an outspoken critic of religious extremism in the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where preaching and practising other faiths are banned by law.

Maldives is known for its luxury resort islands but has suffered rare violent attacks. In 2007, a blast in a park in the capital injured 12 foreign tourists.

Updated: May 7, 2021 12:02 PM

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