Police: Assassination plot reported to Defense Minister isn't linked to May 6 blast

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mohamed Riyaz at a press conference on July 24, 2021. (Photo/Maldives Police Service)

Police said on Saturday that there is no evidence directly linking the IED attack targeting Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed on May 6 with an alleged assassination plot reported to Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi prior to the attack.

A homemade remote-controlled IED was strapped to motorcycle parked nearby Nasheed’s residence, and was detonated at 08:27 pm on May 6, just as Nasheed, 54, exited his residence and went to get in his car. Nasheed was thrown to the ground and sustained multiple shrapnel wounds, while three members of his security detail and two bystanders sustained minor wounds.

In a press conference to deliver the last updates on the investigation into the May 6 attack on Saturday night, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamed Riyaz said the information reported to Mariya is part of the investigation into the IED attack, and that police are conducting necessary enquiries.

Shortly after the attack on May, Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb said he received information from a private citizen regarding a USD 3 million contract to assassinate Nasheed, and had shared the information with Mariya, prior to the attack.

Mariya herself has admitted to receiving the information, but said it was not considered “credible, actionable intelligence”.

She also described the information as not “real information”, but a mere phone call.

Nasheed’s family and supporters believe Mariya to be criminally liable for failure to report the information to the police, and have demanded her resignation.

At Saturday’s press conference, ACP Riyaz said investigators do not believe the information Ilyas received is related to the attack.

“We have received no evidence to directly link the information Ilyas Labeeb received with the actions of the suspects who staged this attack,” he said.

Riyaz said suspects involved in the attack believe Nasheed to be an apostate who openly mocks the religion of Islam and Prophet Mohamed, and that killing him to be justified.

He said there is no evidence to suggest the suspects carried out the attack in exchange for money.

Riyaz also said Nasheed has yet to provide a statement to the police. He said that investigators attempted to get information from Nasheed when he had been in Male’, but he declined to comment given it had been the initial stages of the investigation and he had been in hospital receiving treatment for his injuries.

He said that police made multiple attempts to get Nasheed’s word after that, but without success.

Riyaz said Nasheed has been asked to provide information to investigators via email or letter, as he continues his treatment abroad.