At approximately 2040 local time (1540 UTC) on 6 May 2021, a blast occurred outside the residence of former President Mohamed Nasheed, located in the Neeloafaru Magu area of the capital Malé. An improvised explosive device (IED) attached to a motorcycle parked near Nasheed’s car detonated while he was entering his vehicle. Nasheed — who currently serves as the speaker of Parliament — was wounded in the blast and transported to ADK hospital, where he remains in critical condition following multiple surgeries. At least six other people, including three security personnel, two of Nasheed’s associates and a passerby, also suffered injuries. In addition, multiple vehicles in the area sustained damage as a result of the explosion. Following the blast, the Maldives Police Service raised its alert level and heightened security measures in the city. Authorities have identified four individuals of interest in relation to the attack and are currently pursuing those suspects. Australian Federal Police officials are deploying a team of detectives to aid in the investigation.

Analyst Comment: The blast appears to have specifically targeted Nasheed, who is a frequent critic of radical Islamists in the Maldives. Local media reported that the Islamic State (IS) group has allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Such events are uncommon in the country, although IS claimed responsibility for an arson attack against five docked boats on Mahibadhoo island in April 2020. Security measures in Malé are likely to remain heightened in the immediate term.