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Maldives president escapes explosion on speedboat

Maldives president escapes explosion on speedboatBoat carrying Yameen Abdul Gayoom involved in unexplained explosion which is reported to have injured his wife and a bodyguard.

The president of the Maldives appeared to have escaped unscathed from an explosion on his speedboat as he returned from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The blast occurred as the boat carrying Yameen Abdul Gayoom, approached the main jetty of the capital Malé.

Officials said Gayoom’s wife Fathimath Ibrahim and a bodyguard suffered minor injuries. The 56 year old president, his wife and a number of members of his entourage were taken directly to hospital following the incident.

Mohammed Hussein Shareef, a minister at the President’s Office, told the local Haveeru newspaper the cause of the blast, thought to have happened in the engine room of the boat, was not known.

The Maldives is known for its expensive upmarket island resorts but the small Muslim country has been hit by political infighting and disputed elections in recent years, though is not known for serious political violence such as bomb attacks.

There is a growing problem with Islamic militancy however.

The country’s international airport is on a separate island and a short boat trip is needed to reach the capital island.

Reporters were at the presidential jetty to receive Yameen, who had landed a few minutes earlier at the nearby Hulhule airport after the flight from Saudi Arabia.

Three people are reported to have suffered minor injuries, with a bodyguard the most seriously hurt.

Shareef, the minister, said, the president was unhurt.

Yameen took power in a disputed election in 2013 and has been criticized for his human rights record since. Opposition leader and climate change activist Mohamed Nasheed was jailed earlier this year on what supporters say are trumped up charges.

Source: Guardian
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