Maldives declares 30-day emergency

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image copyrightAP
image captionPresident Abdulla Yameen has said he was the victim of a recent assassination attempt

The Maldives president has declared a 30-day state of emergency ahead of a planned anti-government rally.

The declaration by President Abdulla Yameen gives security forces sweeping powers to arrest suspects.

It comes two days before the planned protest by the country's main opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed was jailed in March after a widely criticised conviction under anti-terror laws.

media captionMaldives crisis explained in 60 seconds

"President Yameen has declared (a) state of emergency to ensure the safety and security of every citizen," his spokesman Muaz Ali tweeted.

Attorney-General Mohamed Anil said a cache of firearms and explosives had recently been discovered, as well as plots to use dangerous weapons.

Boat blast

And on Monday, authorities said they had defused a bomb planted near the presidential palace.

image copyrightMohamed Sharuhaan
image captionThe security forces say they found and defused a bomb near the presidential palace on Monday

"The military and police found weapons and an explosive from two locations," Mr Anil said.

"Because these would be a threat to the public and the nation, the National Security Council has advised to take immediate steps to protect the people of Maldives," he added.

The Maldives has been rocked by political infighting in recent weeks, with Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate the president by blowing up his boat.

Mr Yameen narrowly escaped injury but his wife was hurt when a blast struck the boat, which he was using to return home from the airport last month. Mr Adeeb has been charged with treason.

The FBI in the US investigated the blast and said it found no evidence that it was caused by a bomb.

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