The vice president of the Maldives will face charges of treason after he was arrested Saturday and accused of trying to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen with a bomb that was placed on the leader’s speedboat last month. Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was arrested “on suspicion of involvement in the boat blast,” a police spokesman tells the Associated Press. Adeeb was arrested at the airport following “extensive investigations by both local and international agencies,” the government said in a statement.
The arrest of the vice-president who had assumed office in July comes at a time when the Maldives are engulfed in a political crisis. Hours before Adeeb was arrested, the president fired his police chief in what the Guardian describes as “the latest in a series of firings seen by some as a purge of individuals whose loyalties may be in doubt.” Three soldiers were also arrested in connection with the blast.
At first the Maldives government had said the Sept. 28 blast was due to mechanical failures but investigators later ruled that out, reports Reuters. The government said the bomb was targeting Yameen because it had been placed under his usual seat on the boat. The president was unhurt though because he was not sitting there at the time of the explosion but the first lady and two aides were injured.
Earlier this week, Jared Genser and Amal Clooney wrote a piece for Foreign Policy describing how the country has “fallen into a tailspin” over the past 10 months and calling for global action. “The rapid descent of the Maldives back to dictatorship should be a clarion call for action,” they wrote. Clooney has been speaking up in favor of imprisoned former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed.