Maldives Police Arrest 10 in Bombing That Injured 12 Tourists

Police in the Maldives said on Monday they had arrested 10 people, including two Bangladeshi nationals, in connection with a homemade bomb on Saturday that went off near a mosque in the Maldives' capital, Male, wounding 12 foreign tourists, Reuters reports. Two Britons wounded in the attack were recovering well and arrangements were underway to repatriate them for further treatment, the tourism minister said.

Attacks on tourists, the linchpin of the Maldives' $700 million economy, are rare. However, opposition and rights groups have in the past called for a tourism boycott to protest against long-serving President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has been accused by critics of dragging his feet on democratic reforms and of cracking down on dissent. Government and opposition groups have blamed each other for the bomb attack in the archipelago, best known for luxury honeymoons and Hollywood star visitors. More than 500,000 tourists visited the Maldives last year and the Sunni Muslim country has a reputation for tranquility. The capital has not witnessed any explosions since an attempted coup in 1988. Gayoom on Sunday blamed opposition groups for the weekend attack. In power since 1978, the president won a referendum in August to adopt a U.S.-style presidential system in a vote the opposition said was rigged. The 1,192-island archipelago has many luxury resorts but half of its 370,000 people live in poverty. The Maldives is due to hold its first multi-party election in 2008. Gayoom's aides have said he will run again. (Reuters)


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