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Maldives VP Accused of Assassination Bid on President’s Speedboat

The vice-president of Maldives was arrested Saturday, accused of attempting to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen in a speedboat explosion, officials told Reuters.

Yameen, 59, was unhurt in the Sept. 28 blast as his presidential boat Finifenmaa approached the capital Male while returning from Saudi Arabia, but his wife and two aides were injured.

Image: Officials carry an injured woman off the speed boat of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen after an explosion onboard, in Male, Maldives
Officials carry an injured woman off the Maldives presidential speedboat after an explosion on Sept. 28. WAHEED MOHAMED / Reuters

Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested Saturday, officials in the Indian Ocean island nation said.

"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 center."

Police said three Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) officials were also detained.

Adheeb was arrested at the airport when he was returning from China after participating in a conference.

The government initially said the speedboat blast could be due to mechanical failure but investigators from the U.S. FBI, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Sri Lanka later ruled it out as the cause.

A broader crackdown against political dissent belies the popular image of the Maldives, an island chain with a population of 400,000, as a holiday paradise, with radicalized youths enlisting in significant numbers to fight for Islamic State militants in the Middle East.