4 Nov 2015

Maldives declares state of emergency as turmoil deepens

The Maldives declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, as President Abdulla Yameen sought to shore up his power over the Indian Ocean island nation following a suspected assassination attempt. Citing a threat to national security, the foreign ministry announced on its official Twitter feed that emergency rule would remain in force for 30 days. The authorities acted after discovering explosive devices near Yameen's official residence and the main mosque in the capital Male, as well as stashes of weapons believed to have been stolen from army stores. "Because these would be a threat to the public and the nation, the National Security Council advised taking immediate steps to protect the people of Maldives," Attorney General Mohamed Anil said in a live televised address.

Abdulla Yameen

The imposition of emergency rule, for the first time under a constitution passed in 2008, came two days before a demonstration planned by the main opposition party. The string of tropical islands, home to 400,000 people and a favourite of tourists, has been in turmoil since a Sept. 28 blast on board Yameen's launch as it was about to dock at the capital, Male. Yameen was unhurt but his wife and two aides were injured in the explosion, which the government quickly concluded was an attempt on his life.

Maldives declares state of emergency

Senior ministers told Reuters the government would only make use of limited powers to restrict the right of assembly. There would no curfew or arbitrary detention. "Please go ahead with your holidays - the Maldives are a peaceful country," Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon told Reuters. "There has never been a major incident targeting tourists."

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