A state of emergency has been declared in Maldives by President Abdulla Yameen, giving sweeping powers to security forces. The decision was taken by ruling establishment in Maldivian in the wake of security situation three days after arms and explosives were found near his Presidential palace in the capital city Male as well as at an island resort. The emergency will stay imposed for 30 days.
This comes days after Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was arrested on October 25 in connection with an explosion aboard the President’s boat that authorities have called an assassination attempt. A senior Maldivian diplomat and four others Maldivians were later also arrested and deported from Malaysia in this connection.
“(The) Maldives declares state of emergency for a period of 30 days starting 12 pm Wednesday,” the presidential spokesman Muaz Ali wrote on a micro-blogging site Twitter.
On Monday arms and explosives were found in a vehicle parked near the Presidential palace in Male.
“The device was placed on the battery pack of a white truck parked on the north side of Muliaage,” Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) Captain Ali Ihsaan had said at a press conference after the incident on Monday. According to Mr. Ihsaan, a dynamite stick had been used as the primary explosive in the device which was designed to be remotely detonated.
According to the officials, explosives were also found at an island resort but the authorities are yet to identify it.
Officials also added that Maldivian police believe “some individuals possess dangerous arms and explosives which is a threat to people and to national security” but added that there will be no curfew.
At the same time, they also maintained that “despite state of emergency, situation in the Maldives remains calm and normal. There are no restrictions for visitors to travel to Maldives.”
Significantly, the declaration of emergency has come two days ahead of a planned protest by the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) aimed at pressuring Yameen to release its leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed from jail after a widely criticised conviction under anti-terror laws.
Maldives has gone through a political turmoil off-late. Earlier this year the island nation witnessed a confrontation between government authorities and supporters of former President Nasheed, who was jailed for 13 years in March. The Maldivian government had responded to the protest by a big crackdown resulting in the mass arrest of several protesters, including the leaders of the opposition party – Maldivian Democratic Party, which is headed by a popular opposition leader Mohammed Nasheed.
(With inputs from the PTI)