Former president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed who sustained injuries in a bomb blast in the capital Male on Thursday evening is in critical care, hospital authorities said.

The blast happened as he was about to get into a car. Police call it a terrorist attack.

Local media reported that a home-made explosive device was planted on a motorcycle that was parked nearby.

A team from the Australian Federal Police force will travel to the Maldives to help in the investigation.

Nasheed, 53, was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives and has been an outspoken critic of hardline Islamists. He won multi-party elections in 2008 but was ousted in a coup four years later.

He is currently serving as the speaker in parliament, which is the Indian Ocean nation’s second-most powerful position.

President Ibrahim Solih described the explosion as “an attack on Maldives’ democracy and economy.”

The explosion happened at around 9pm local time, just before a night-time curfew was due to go into effect in the capital as part of measures to contain coronavirus.

Ali Azim, an MP from the governing Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said the explosion appeared to be “a targeted attack against Nasheed”. However, no-one has claimed the attack and there are no reports of arrests.

Meanwhile, the United States condemned the terrorist attack. “The US is saddened and concerned by the attack and stood ready to assist in bringing the perpetrators to justice,” US State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter said on Friday.


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