Key suspect in Nasheed attack arrested: Maldives police

Maldives police said on Sunday they arrested a person believed to be the prime suspect in an explosion that critically wounded the country’s former president.

Police said they now have three of four suspects in custody. Thursday’s blast targeted Mohamed Nasheed, currently the speaker of parliament, who is recovering in hospital after multiple surgeries.

Police did not give details on the latest suspect or his background, but in a text message confirmed they believe he is the person whose pictures were released on Saturday as authorities sought public assistance 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 bystanders, including a British citizen, were also wounded.

Life-saving surgery

Nasheed has been an outspoken critic of religious hardliners in the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where preaching and practicing other faiths are banned by law. He has been criticised by religious hardliners for his closeness to the West and liberal policies.

Hospital officials said Nasheed, 53, remains in an intensive care unit after initial life-saving surgeries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs. A relative tweeted early on Sunday that Nasheed had been able to have long conversations with some family members.

Shrapnel from the blast damaged Nasheed’s intestines and liver, and a piece of shrapnel broke his rib and had been less than a centimeter (0.4 inches) from his heart, hospital officials said.

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