Maldives V-P held over plot to kill president

Maldives V-P held over plot to kill president

Maldives Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb was arrested on Saturday over last month’s alleged attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen in a bomb blast on board his speedboat, the government said.

Adeeb’s dramatic arrest at the Maldives’ main international airport followed “extensive investigations by both local and international agencies,” the government said in a statement posted on the website of its high commission in New Delhi.

“The charges are extremely serious, and the government had to act decisively,” it said, without saying whether the vice-president had been formally charged.

Home Minister Umar Naseer earlier posted on Twitter that Adeeb was in detention on Dhoonidhoo prison island. “Charges: high treason,” he tweeted.

Adeeb, 33, was arrested at around noon local time (12:30 IST) on Saturday as he returned home from Singapore, where he had stopped over after attending an investment forum in China.

Maldivian police confirmed that his detention was linked to an investigation into the September 28 blast aboard Yameen’s speedboat, which left the leader unhurt but his wife and two others slightly injured.

Earlier, Yameen appointed Adeeb as his deputy three months ago after impeaching his original running mate Mohamed Jameel on charges of treason. He had changed the Maldives’ constitution to reduce the permissible age of a vice president from 35 to 30 so that Adeeb could be given the job.

Adeeb was unceremoniously escorted away by police as he disembarked from a Singapore Airlines flight, with a coastguard boat taking him to the nearby prison island of Dhoonidhoo.

Dozens of Adeeb’s supporters who had arrived at the official jetty in Male to greet him were turned back by police in the tiny one-square-mile (2.5 square-kilometre) capital island.

By afternoon, the authorities had deployed soldiers and police to maintain calm, while special police units carried out searches at houses and offices frequented by the detained vice-president.

Tight security
“Security in Male has been tightened,” police spokesman Abdulla Nawaz told reporters in the capital where more than a dozen people were arrested for disturbing public order.

Official sources said four of the vice-president’s associates were arrested shortly before Adeeb’s detention and were also being held on the prison island.

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