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Warrant for ex-president

February 9, 2012

Reports of an arrest warrant for former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed have threatened to disrupt a tense calm in the capital, Male, a day after riots there injured dozens.

Ex-President Mohamen Nasheed
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

A criminal court in the Maldives issued an arrest warrant for former president Mohamed Nasheed, his party said on Thursday, as officials in the country spoke of a "complete breakdown" of law and order.

Senior officials with the Maldivian Democratic Party said arrest warrants had been issued for Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, and his former defense minister, but said they did not know the charges brought against them.

The streets of the capital, Male, were mostly calm on Thursday, a day after riots broke out in the wake of Nasheed's resignation. Nasheed said Wednesday that he was forced to resign at gunpoint, calling the change of power a coup.

Abdulla Sodig, the mayor of Addu, the country's second-largest city, told the AFP news agency by phone that there was "no law and order at all," and that his wrist had been fractured after a group of people stormed his office and attacked him.

He added that some 300 army troops had been deployed in the city, and that they were on the streets making arrests.

Accusations of 'coup'

Thirty people were reportedly injured in Wednesday's violence, when thousands of Nasheed supporters fought with riot police in Male.

"We will come to power again," Nasheed said. "We will never step back. I will not accept this coup and will bring justice to the Maldivians."

President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, the former vice president who took over after Nasheed, denies that Nasheed was pushed out of office by force.

Reactions from Western nations have been cautious, calling on political leaders to peacefully resolve the conflict. US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake was to travel to Male to gauge the situation.

Human rights group Amnesty International on Thursday called on Hassan's government to investigate allegations of attacks on pro-Nasheed protesters by security forces and to ensure freedom of expression.

The Maldives is a luxury tourism-driven country of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean.

acb/jw (AP, AFP, Reuters)