He offers evidence of military involvement in the episode

The former Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed, has said he received detailed warnings of an imminent coup from the country's military intelligence service weeks before he was ousted on February 6.

“I was given a seven-page letter by the General then in charge of military intelligence warning of a plot, to overthrow my government, by [the former dictator] Maumoon Abdul Gayoom,” he told The Hindu in an interview on Thursday. “However, the officer concerned was promptly replaced [by the Army].”

Mr. Nasheed is in New Delhi to press India to exert greater diplomatic pressure on the Maldives government to honour promises that it will hold early elections — amid growing signs by his successor to defer the process until at least 2013.

Last week, the Commonwealth's Ministerial Action Group on the Maldives said it “continued to be strongly of the view that the earliest possible expression of the will of the people was required to establish universal faith in the legitimacy of those who govern.”

Mr. Nasheed offered further evidence of military involvement in the coup and said he made requests for military assistance hours after the riot police attacked his supporters.

“When I went to the military's headquarters the next morning, it turned out everyone was on leave; there were only about 200 people there. The 200 people there were not willing to defend the elected government; the generals, bar two, were supportive of Mr. Gayoom.”

Mr. Gayoom, the long-running ruler, was forced out of office in 2008, after the country's first elections. He returned to the Maldives after the coup. His daughter is now Foreign Minister.

Mr. Nasheed said a small group of supporters in the Army suggested using firearms to disperse the rioting policemen, but he rejected the offer. “I knew this was going to end either with many deaths or with my being lynched,” he said. “So I agreed to resign.”

Keywords: Maldives crisis

More In: International | News