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Maldives ex-president Mohamed Nasheed ‘critical’ after bomb blast

MALE, Maldives: Mohamed Nasheed sustained several wounds in the blast and was taken to ADK Hospital where he underwent multiple “successful” surgeries. On Friday afternoon, the hospital said Nasheed had undergone “a successful final, critical, life-saving procedure”.

“Over the course of past 16 hours he had life-saving surgery on injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs. He remains in a critical condition in intensive care,” it wrote on Twitter.

Mohamed Nasheed, the former Maldives president and current speaker of parliament who was wounded in a bomb attack, was in “critical condition” after undergoing multiple surgeries, doctors said.

The 53-year-old had just left his house in the capital, Male, and was about to get into his car late on Thursday when a bomb attached to a motorbike exploded. Residents said the blast was heard across the city.

Nasheed’s brother, Nazim Sattar, had tweeted earlier on Friday: “They have finished the surgery and now it’s the long road to recovery.”

According to the hospital, Nasheed was treated by a multi-speciality medical team after he was brought in around 8:30 pm on Friday. The need for further surgeries was identified during an assessment of his wounds, it added.

Three of Nasheed’s military bodyguards along with two bystanders – a 41-year-old Maldivian man and 70-year-old British man – also sustained minor injuries, according to police, which called the bomb blast a “deliberate act of terror”.

Police commissioner Mohamed Hameed said there have been no arrests, but authorities are trying to identify “four persons of interest” who were “noticed due to suspicious behaviour at the crime scene”.

No one has claimed responsibility.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday went to the hospital where Nasheed, a close ally, was being treated and called an emergency meeting following the attack.

Solih said on Friday the explosion was “an attack on democracy” and the Maldives’ tourism-dependent economy, and announced that Australian federal police investigators will arrive on Saturday to assist an investigation.

Meanwhile, many Maldivian officials and citizens took to social media to condemn the attack and wish Nasheed a speedy recovery.

Neighbouring India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also expressed deep concern at the attack and said Nasheed “will never be intimidated”.

“This is very significant, not just in terms of scale but also in terms of target,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center, told media persons.

“The fact that you have a former president who is still a very prominent political figure and a very prominent democratic leader in a region that is now marked by strongmen and hardline nationalists … is quite a big deal,” Kugelman said.

Eva Abdulla, the deputy speaker of the Maldives parliament, told media agencies that this attack should be perceived as a “warning not just for the Maldives, but the region”.

“I think we must all work together with our neighbours too. We need answers on this,” Abdulla said.

“It’s imperative that the investigation is speedy and transparent and it’s imperative that we crackdown on violent extremism here,” she added.