Maldives president escapes blast aboard speedboat

Wife and aide accompanying controversial leader Abdul Gayoom back from Hajj have reportedly suffered minor injuries.

    Minister Mohamed Shareef said the blast on Monday morning occurred as the boat reached the main jetty in the capital, Male [Reuters]
    Minister Mohamed Shareef said the blast on Monday morning occurred as the boat reached the main jetty in the capital, Male [Reuters]

    The president of Maldives has escaped unhurt from a blast on his speedboat as he was returning home after performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

    Yameen Abdul Gayoom's wife, Fatima Ibrahim, and an aide suffered minor injuries while a bodyguard sustained relatively serious injuries following Monday's incident, according to a government official.

    "There was an explosion at President Gayoom's official speedboat near Male jetty. The president is unhurt, but the first lady was slightly injured," Mohamed Hussain Shareef, minister at the president's office, told Reuters news agency.

    He said the explosion occurred as the boat reached the main jetty in the capital, Male.

    The cause of the blast, thought to have happened in the engine room, was not known, Shareef said,

    Boating accidents and fires are common in the Indian Ocean nation.

    President Gayoom, 59, is a controversial figure both at home and abroad. He rose to power in a bitterly contested presidential election in 2013.

    The leader he defeated, Mohamed Nasheed, was jailed this year for terrorism in a case that has drawn international criticism.

    Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer, called for international sanctions against the Maldives after visiting Nasheed this month.

    The country's international airport is on a different island and a short boat trip is needed to reach the capital island [AP]

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.