Masked assailants tried to assasinate president, alleges Reeko Moosa

A group of masked assailants armed with swords attempted to assassinate President Mohamed Nasheed at last night’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally at artificial beach, claims MDP parliamentary group leader ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

Addressing supporters at the launch of the ‘people’s court’ today, Moosa said he first saw rocks being thrown into the crowd from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) office.

While the attention of the rally-goers was directed towards the office, Moosa continued, he saw a group of masked assailants carrying knives.

‘Last night, I saw with my own eyes a group of people trying to attack your president in the open,’ he said.

Moosa called on the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) to reveal how the incident occurred to the public.

President Nasheed was escorted from the area during Moosa’s speech by MNDF officers shortly after the disturbance.

His Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair today confirmed that “some people tried to attack the president. A group of people ran towards him to attack him, but his bodyguards confronted them.’’

The clash at artificial beach sparked unrest across the capital, with crowds of MDP supporters gathering outside opposition MPs’ residences to protest.

The opposition has claimed the protests were orchestrated by the government.

Meanwhile, local daily Haveeru reports that a group of people outside MP Abdulla Yameen’s house, Galolhu Dhoovehi, attacked MDP supporters as the protest march made its way north of Alikilegefaanumagu.

The group of about 20 beat up some protestors, took away their flags and set fire to them, according to Haveeru, while some of them tried to restrain the others and took them inside the house.

The People’s Alliance leader, accused by the government of corruption and bribery, is currently reported to be under MNDF protection.

The United Nations meanwhile issued a statement saying the international organisation “stands ready to assist in any way the parties find appropriate.”

“The United Nations urges all parties to resolve political differences through dialogue and address jointly the pressing needs of the nation and the democratisation process,” the UN said.

The US Embassy in Colombo also issued a statement, saying the US was “deeply concerned about rising tension resulting from the ongoing impasse between government and opposition parties in the Maldives.”

“We call on all sides to refrain from violence and to come together to resolve disagreements through dialogue and compromise.  We urge all parties to accept international offers of mediation.  The United States has full confidence that the democratic process in the Maldives will allow for a peaceful resolution of these issues.”