Maldives defence minister sacked after boat blast

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has sacked his defence minister after a security lapse led to an alleged attempt to assassinate the leader, his spokesman said.

Colombo: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has sacked his defence minister after a security lapse led to an alleged attempt to assassinate the leader, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Muaz Ali announced the sacking of Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel in a tweet, but gave no further details. The government has not yet announced his replacement.

"The president has dismissed Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel," the spokesman tweeted in the Maldivian language Dhivehi.

It followed a reshuffle of key security officials in the wake of the September 28 explosion aboard Yameen's boat, as he was about to disembark at the capital island Male.

The Maldivian leader was unhurt in the blast but his wife and two others suffered minor injuries, in what a minister last week said was "likely to have been an attempt on the president's life".

Maldivian authorities have arrested two security personnel who had access to Yameen's boat but have yet to disclose what caused the explosion.

Jaleel was given the job in January soon after the sacking of his predecessor Mohamed Nazim, who has since been tried and convicted of smuggling arms and jailed for 11 years.

In July, President Yameen secured parliamentary backing to impeach another former ally, his vice president Mohamed Jameel.

Yameen, the half-brother of former Maldivian strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled for three decades until 2008, faces international criticism for jailing his opponents, including opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed.

Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges in March.

A UN panel ruled last month that his incarceration was illegal and he should be freed immediately.

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