Terror attack on Speaker Nasheed

The former president is now recovering from serious injuries sustained during the blast outside his home in Malé

President's Office

President's Office

The Speaker of parliament, and the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed was the target of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which was set off at 2027hrs, in Malé near Neelofaru Magu on 6 May 2021. The attack took place as the Speaker was entering his car outside his home.

Speaker Nasheed was taken to ADK hospital with multiple injuries following the explosion where, over the course of 16 hours, he underwent several procedures, including life-saving interventions, on injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs. He remains in the hospital recovering from the injuries.

Four others were injured in the attack; two MNDF officials, a British national and a local man.

The explosion was caused by an IED planted on a motor bike parked near the Speaker's vehicle. Evidence confirmed the device used to be a home-made, nonmilitary, IED detonated through a remote control — a device far more powerful than the 2004 IED in Sultan Park.

The incident has triggered a priority investigation by the Maldives Police Service. During the press conference held on 7th May 2021, the country’s security services sought to assure the public that all necessary steps were being taken to ensure the safety and security of citizens and and that there were enhanced protective measures being rolled out through the Greater Malé Region.

While this is the first such attack in which a senior state official was critically injured, there have been previous attempts on the lives of presidents within their terms — President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, in 2008, was the target of a knife attack and President Abdulla Yameen, in 2015, was the target of an IED planted on the president’s speedboat; both escaped largely unscathed and with no other casualties.

In other similar attacks believed to be tied to extremism, a prominent reform activist and blogger, Yameen Rasheed was stabbed and murdered near his home in 2017, journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla was, in 2014, abducted on his way home from work, and assumed dead, and religious scholar, and member of parliament, Afrasheem Ali was, in 2012, stabbed to death near this home.

With the investigation ongoing, following is a timeline, with the latest information first, of events of the attack on Speaker Nasheed.

Latest Updates:

  • Three suspects in custody under court orders;
  1. Adhuham Rasheed, 25 years old
  2. Mujah Ahmed, 21 years old
  3. Thahumeen Ahmed, 32 years old
  • Family and doctors confirmed Speaker Nasheed is out of danger and recovering. 

9 May 2021

  • Police confirms identity of latest individual arrested, believed to be the prime suspect of the attack seen in CCTV images released on 8 May 2021, as 25 year old Adhuham Rasheed.
  • Rasheed is the third suspect arrested in relation to the attack.
  • Police shows CCTV footage of Rasheed in action during the attack.
  • Police have traced Rasheed's movements from the time of the attack.
  • Footage shows movement of both Rasheed and Mujah Ahmed. 
  • The three arrested are remanded for 15 days by Court order.
  • Materials used to make the IED found in the home of prime suspect Rasheed, who also detonated the device.
  • Sample footprint, connecting to Rasheed being present inside Athama Palace with foot leaned on the wall, collected.
  • Rasheed observed holding a remote control.
  • CCTV footage confirms a natural reaction from locals in the same area as Rasheed during the blast; Rasheed was seen seeking protection from blast.
  • After the attack, Rasheed initially ran from the scene, then slowed down to a fast paced walk and met with Mujah Ahmed.
  • The IED consists of materials readily available for purchase online.
  • Details on the fourth suspect have not yet been made available.
  • Police are analysing phone conversations by Rasheed during the time of attack.

8 May 2021

  • Two arrested; 21 year old Mujah Ahmed and 32 year old Thahumeen Ahmed.      
  • Surveillance video of the incident made public.        
  • Police forensic team restored the vehicle identification of the motorcycle engine, leading to the arrest of one suspect.
  • Photos of suspect, captured on CCTV footage from the scene, released.

7 May 2021

  • Police establishes incident was a deliberate act of terror targeting Speaker and former president, Mohamed Nasheed.
  • A total of 450 Police personnel investigating the attack as a high priority.
  • Two experts from UNODC present in the Maldives are working with the investigation team.
  • A team of two Australian Federal Police will be arriving to join the investigation on 8 May 2021.
  • Discussions ongoing with UK Metropolitan Police counter terrorism specialists.
  • Speaker Nasheed was brought to ADK Hospital at 2035 hours.
  • Device used in blast was home made; non-military.
  • No prior indication, or Intelligence, of incident.
  • Speaker Nasheed is categorised as security level high.

6 May 2021

  • Explosion occurs at 2027 hours on the intersection of Neeloafaru Magu and Majeedhee Magu.
  • Five individuals including Speaker Nasheed injured.
  • Priority investigation begins.

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