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Vice President Of Maldives Arrested Over Alleged Plot To Kill President

Maldives Vice President Ahmed Adeeb speaks to media earlier this month at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, near Male, Maldives.
Ali Naseer
Maldives Vice President Ahmed Adeeb speaks to media earlier this month at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, near Male, Maldives.

Authorities in the Maldives have arrested the country's vice president for what they say is his involvement in a plot to kill the president.

You may remember that back in September, President Abdulla Yameen was unhurt when his speedboat was rocked by an explosion. Reuters reports that Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested for his alleged role in that explosion as he came back from a conference in China.

Reuters explains:

"'We have arrested the vice president in relation to the Finifenmaa incident,' a police media official told Reuters. 'He is now in police custody in Dhoonidhoo detention centre.'

"Home minister Umar Naseer told Reuters: 'He is arrested on the charges of assassination attempt.'

"Adheeb's arrest comes after defense minister Moosa Ali Jaleel was sacked by Yameen on Oct. 14, amid a shake up in VIP security after the explosion. Two other military officials were also arrested immediately after the incident.

"Police also said three Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) officials have been arrested on Saturday along with Adheeb."

The Wall Street Journal reports that if we had been following the politics of this Indian Ocean archipelago mostly known for its luxury hotels, we wouldn't be surprised. The paper reports:

"Mr. Gayoom's government has faced criticism from the United Nations and human-rights groups for its prosecution and imprisonment of Mr. Gayoom's predecessor, Mohammad Nasheed, Maldives' first democratically elected president

"In March, Mr. Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison after being found guilty of unlawfully ordering the arrest of a judge during his time in office. U.N. rights officials said Mr. Nasheed's trial was politically motivated and flawed.

"In September, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein called for Mr. Nasheed's release. He also called for a review of criminal cases against several hundred of Mr. Nasheed's supporters who were arrested during political protests. The Maldives government has maintained that the rule of law was followed in Mr. Nasheed's trial and has invited his lawyers to appeal the verdict."

If something happened to Yameen, Vice President Adheeb was next in line for the presidency. The Journal reports the blast on the speed boat was detonated right below Yameen's preferred seat.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.