President of the Adhaalath Party Sheikh Hussain Rasheed Ahmed was attacked on Monday night in an incident he believes “was politically motivated.”
The attack occurred near Masjidhul Sulthaan Mohamed-bin-Abdulla at around 12.30 am.
Speaking to Minivan News, Rasheed said “I had just finished up at Television Maldives (TVM) and was on my motorbike on Ameenee Magu. It was the third night of the Torture Victims Association (TVA) rally but I didn’t attend it that night.
“Just as I neared the mosque, they came from behind me and someone grabbed my shoulder. I lost control of my motorbike and was flung off, while my bike crashed under a lorry.
“I think there was two of them on one motorbike. It happened so fast, I didn’t get to see it properly”
Aside from a bruised hand, lost spectacles and a wrecked motorbike, Sheikh Rasheed escaped the incident in good health.
Maldives police confirmed the attack had occurred but would not comment on whether it was random or politically or religiously motivated.
Rasheed responded: ” It’s because of my involvement in the Torture Victims Association rally. It’s a political issue – I haven’t been able to walk on streets lately because of the verbal abuse.”
“I don’t believe it was a random attack,” said the president’s press secretary Mohamed Zuhair, pointing out that Rasheed was the head of the Presidential Commission investigating the alleged embezzlement of state funds by the former government.
“It’s the same kind of thing that went on during elections,” Zuhair said. “It’s been alleged that this [attack] is linked to parties opposing the government.”
DRP member Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Hussain Shareef told Minivan News: ” This is the first I have heard of the incident. I hope that [Rasheed] is safe and urge him to be cautious. Given the political situation even I have to walk around with body guards now. If us politicians get hurt, we can no longer provide our services to the people.”
In response to Zuhair’s speculation that the attacks were prompted by the opposition, Mundhu said “If the government is making such accusations, they should specify which party and who.”
“I believe that all these rumors are being spread to shift public focus from the real issues. The MDP is only being held together through its hatred for Maumoon. They have lost their popularity, people want their basic needs satisfied, and so now the government is using these rumors to shift the focus.”
Mundhu also mentioned that DRP members had also been attacked, such as Madd Saleem.
“I am not accusing the leadership of committing such acts of violence. Rather it is unruly elements within the party. It is important that the heads of the parties control these elements,” he said.