The Maldives police have said an explosion that wounded former President Mohamed Nasheed was an act of terrorism but no suspects were identified.
Nasheed, the former president and current speaker of parliament, remains in hospital after a bomb attack that left him with serious shrapnel wounds and the Indian Ocean archipelago in shock.
The 53-year-old had just left his house in the capital, Male, and was about to get into his car late on Thursday when a bomb attached to a motorbike exploded. Residents said the blast was heard across the city.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Home Minister Imran Abdulla told local media Nasheed’s injuries were not life-threatening. One of Nasheed’s bodyguards was also taken to hospital.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih went to the hospital where Nasheed, a close ally, is being treated and called an emergency meeting following the attack.
Solih said on Friday the explosion was “an attack on democracy” and the Maldives’ tourism-dependent economy, and announced that Australian federal police investigators will arrive on Saturday to assist an investigation.
“Nasheed escaped an assassination attempt,” a Maldivian government official told AFP news agency. “He is injured, but his condition is stable.”
Images on social media showed a destroyed motorbike at the scene of the attack, which was cordoned off by armed police units and security forces.
Nasheed has been an outspoken critic of religious extremism in the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where preaching and practicing other faiths are banned by law.
The Maldives is known for its luxury resorts but has seen rare violent attacks. In 2007, a blast in a park in the capital wounded 12 foreign tourists.
Violence has been blamed on a rise in religious extremism. The Maldives has one of the highest per capita numbers of militants who fought in Syria and Iraq.
Solih said in a televised speech that Australian Federal Police investigators will arrive on Saturday. The Australian Federal Police said its members will engage with Maldives police and assess the assistance that can be provided to their investigation.