Main suspects of May 6 blast arrested

The police have released the identities of 6 additional May 6 blast suspects.

The May 6 attack targeted Speaker of the Parliament and former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed by detonating an IED as he entered his vehicle near his residence in capital Male'. According to the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), the IED was strapped to a motorcycle parked nearby. Nasheed sustained serious injuries in the attack and multiple critical surgeries were performed on Nasheed at ADK Hospital. Nasheed traveled to Germany on May 13, and he is now in the United Kingdom where he is recuperating from his injuries.

In a press conference held by Maldives Police Service and the Prosecutor General's Office on Saturday night, the Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed said a suspect named Mohamed Thasmeen from Ha. Hoarafushi was arrested in Addu City earlier on Saturday. He is believed to be one of the main suspects who played a major role in convincing other suspects in custody that Nasheed must be assassinated, the commissioner said. He added that the same suspect was arrested earlier in April 2017 while he was actively making a homemade bomb in a private office in Male' City. He was later released in October 2018.

CP Hameed said a group of extremists believe Nasheed should be killed and have been actively working towards the goal since 2019. In this regard, practical preparations to attack Nasheed have been ongoing since 2020, and the May 6 attack was the third attempt to take Nasheed's life, said the CP.

The police said over 640 individuals were interviewed regarding the May 6 blast and 228 individuals were questioned and their statements recorded. 109 video footage from CCTV cameras of private individuals were obtained and analyzed, which amounts to over 5,600 hours of footage, said the police. Additionally, 60,072 hours of CCTV footage from 372 police CCTV cameras in Male' and Hulhumale' were also analyzed. 103 locations were searched and over 830 pieces of evidence were collected.

The police earlier arrested five suspects linked to the case. They are Adhuham Ahmed (25), Mujaz Ahmed (21), Thahmeen Ahmed (32), and Ahmed Fathih (23) and Ali Haisham (27).

Adhuham Rasheed is believed to be the person who denoted the bomb via a remote, and the police say investigations show he was ready to sacrifice his life to ensure that the mission was accomplished. Thahumeen is the owner of the motorcycle used to pull off the attack, and he actively took part in installing the bomb on the vehicle. Investigation shows he played a major role in carrying out the attack. Mujaz Ahmed assisted Adhuham in changing out of his clothes after the attack and moving around Male' City. Fathih helped Mujaz to reach Adhuham following the attack.

In addition to these suspects, Ali Haisham from N. Manadhoo, Ishaq from K. Male, Fahmy Ali from Ga. Hudhuruvaage, Mohamed Nazim from Aa. Maalhos, Abdulla Ali Manik from Ha. Molhadhoo and Mohamed Thasmeen from Ha. Hoarafushi are also in police custody. According to the police,Mohamed Thasleem, Ishaq and Ali Haisham are believed to have orchestrated the attack. Ali Haisham played an active role in physically installing the IED on the motorcycle, and Ishaq was heavily involved in planning the attack as well as preparing Adhuham to pull off the attack. Fahmy and Nazim are also accomplices who helped pull off the attack. Abdulla Ali Manik is notorious for spreading extremism in the Maldives, and he played a major role in hiding Adhuham following the attack as well as getting rid of the evidence, the police said. Mohamed Thasleem had declared Nasheed must be killed and convinced others to join his 'cell' and taught its members how to operate the cell and used books and videos to teach cell members, said the police.