AP/Sinan Hussain
Maldivian soldiers patrolling the capital city after the arrest of VP Ahmed Adeeb.

The vice president of the Maldives allegedly tried to kill the president last month

By Svati Kirsten Narula

Police in the Maldives have arrested Ahmed Adeeb, the country’s vice president, on charges of treason, alleging that he was involved in plotting an explosion that could have killed president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in September. (The president is commonly known as “Abdulla Yameen.”)

Though the president was not hurt in the blast, which occurred on a speedboat carrying him and his family to Malé, the Maldivian capital, on September 28, his wife and bodyguard suffered minor injuries. Police at the time said they didn’t know if it had been an accident or an assassination attempt, but rumors soon swirled about the vice president’s possible involvement, according to the Associated Press.

Adeeb, who had been appointed VP only three months earlier—after president Yameen impeached his original VP on charges of treason—denied the accusations. But the president remained suspicious and ordered investigations into Adeeb’s network. Since then, Yameen has fired a handful of officials; The Guardian notes this was “seen by some as a purge of individuals whose loyalties may be in doubt.”

The Maldives, a small Muslim nation of islands best known for luxury beach resorts, have been sullied by political infighting since 2012, when the country’s first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed, was overthrown. Nasheed’s vice president assumed leadership for a year, and then lost to Yameen in the controversial 2013 presidential election. When Yameen became president, he sent Nasheed to jail.

Vice president Adeeb was arrested today (Oct. 24), and so were three soldiers suspected of plotting against Yameen with him, plus two others who had access to the boat before the explosion. The government announced that the bomb on the boat had been planted under a seat usually occupied the president.