FBI forensic investigators were asked by the president of the Maldives after an explosion on his yacht in September injured his wife, an aide and a bodyguard. The president, Yameen Abdal Gayoon Gayoon, immediately declared that it was an assassination attempt.
Subsequently the vice-president, Amed Adeeb, and three soldiers were arrests charged with an attempted coup. The VP was out of the country at the time of the explosion. They remain in jail.
The FBI said “submitted specimens were determined to be components from the boat and not the components of an improvised explosive device”. Guardian
The Maldives look like paradise to outsiders with luxury villas built over coral reefs. Appearances can be deceptive however. The island country has been a democracy since 2008 after ousting the half-brother of the current president.
Plots and counterplots have found many politicians arrested and incarcerated. The country’s first democratically elected president is locked up currently. Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has visited him in jail. Former president Mohamed Nasheed had ordered the arrest of a judge and instead was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges. Gayoom’s former defense minister is in jail with an eleven year sentence for firearm possession.
There is little doubt that those in power in the Maldives are seeking to surveil any that they suspect of terrorist leanings. Legislation was signed October 29th by the current president to allow the installation of cameras inside the homes of any that were suspected of terrorism.
The definition of terrorism is a broad one and includes such broad categories as vandalism.
Tensions are likely to get worse as the island nation copes with ongoing sea level rise. The country is made up of coral atolls. The highest ground in less than four metres above sea level and most of it is much lower.
The country depends heavily on the tourist industry. The number of visitors has steadily climbed to about 800 000 each year. While they provide much needed foreign currency they also stress the country’s capacity to provide fresh water, dispose of garbage and safe treatment of sewage.
Union of Concerned Scientists
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