Maldives says state of emergency may be lifted early

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 7:38 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The foreign minister of the Maldives said Monday that a monthlong state of emergency declared by the president last week may be lifted early.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon said by phone from the Maldives' capital, Male, that the emergency was declared in the face of an unprecedented security threat, but that information from defense officials gives hope that it could be reviewed in the coming days.

The decree last Wednesday came after a Sept. 28 blast aboard President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's boat that authorities called an assassination attempt. The explosion was followed by reports that an arms cache and a homemade bomb apparently targeting the president had been found.

"I am quite confident it would be less than one month," Maumoon said. "I think from the information I have from the defense and others, we hopefully will be able to attend to this very quickly in the coming days and we hope to see the revoking of the situation."

The state of emergency, which has given vast powers to security forces and police to search and arrest suspects and suspended some key rights of citizens, has brought widespread local and international criticism.

Maldivian lawmakers voted Vice President Ahmed Adeeb out of office using the emergency regulations. Authorities suspect that Adeeb was behind the alleged attempts on Gayoom's life, and he has been arrested and detained.

The Maldives, known for its many luxury island resorts, has had a difficult transition to democracy since holding its first multiparty election in 2008.