Speaker of the Maldives parliament and former president Mohamed Nasheed was in a “critical condition”, a Male-based hospital said on Friday, a day after he sustained multiple injuries in a targeted explosion that the Maldives police described as “an act of terror”
“President Nasheed underwent a successful final, critical, life-saving procedure this afternoon. Over the course of past 16 hours he had life-saving surgery on injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs. He remains in a critical condition in intensive care,” the ADK hospital treating him said in a tweet.
Mr. Nasheed’s brother, Nazim Sattar, tweeted earlier on Friday: “They have finished the surgery and now it’s the long road to recovery,” and sources close to the family told The Hindu from Male that the former President’s condition appeared stable, and was being closely monitored.
The former president was injured as he was about to get into his car outside his home on Thursday night, when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attached to a two-wheeler parked nearby exploded.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the apparent assassination attempt, police said all available evidence indicated that the incident was “a deliberate act of terror” targeting Mr. Nasheed. A probe has commenced, and at least “four persons of interest” have been identified so far, local media reported, following a press conference by the police chief. A team from the Australian Federal Police is expected to arrive in the Maldives on Saturday to assist with the investigation.
Mr. Nasheed, 53, is a prominent advocate of democracy and the Maldives’s first democratically elected president and a global climate change hero. Known for his bold criticism of religious extremism, Mr. Nasheed has on multiple occasions warned of Islamist radical forces within the country.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih convened the National Security Council as well as an emergency cabinet meeting following the incident on Thursday night that shook the region and beyond. In a televised address to the nation on Friday morning, President Solih strongly condemned the explosion, describing it an attack Maldives’s democracy and economy. Promising a swift and thorough investigation into the incident, he said perpetrators would face “the full force of the law”.
Several governments, including India and China, as well as diplomatic missions in Male, as well as those accredited from Colombo, condemned the attack. “Deeply concerned at the attack on Speaker @MohamedNasheed. Wish him a speedy recovery. Know that he will never be intimidated,” External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in a tweet on Thursday. Addressing a media conference in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “We strongly condemn this attack.”