Assassination Attempt Shows Weakness of Maldives President

Assassination Attempt Shows Weakness of Maldives President
Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom addresses the nation, Male, Maldives, Oct. 25, 2015 (photo from the Maldives President's Office).

Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested Saturday in connection with a speedboat explosion targeting President Abdulla Yameen on Sept. 28. In an email interview, Fathima Musthaq, a doctoral student at Indiana University, discussed politics in the Maldives.

WPR: How common is political violence in the Maldives, and what does the attempt on President Abdulla Yameen’s life reflect about the island’s political environment?

Fathima Musthaq: Violence as a means of intimidation has become commonplace. The explosion on the president’s speedboat on Sept. 28 is the latest in a series of politically motivated attacks in the country. Just three weeks before the explosion, Mahfooz Saeed, a member of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team, was stabbed in the head in broad daylight in the capital city Male. Over a year ago, outspoken journalist Ahmed Rilwan, who wrote extensively about criminal gangs, Islamic extremism and corruption, disappeared. Roughly three years ago, parliamentarian Afrashim Ali was stabbed to death near his home in Male. And about four years ago, Aishath Velezinee, then a sitting member of the Judicial Service Commission, was stabbed in the back in broad daylight on a busy street in Male. To this day the authorities have failed to bring any of the perpetrators to justice.

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