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Maldives leader Yameen Abdul Gayoom in post-hajj speedboat blast

Maldives president Yameen Abdul Gayoom has escaped unhurt from a blast in his speedboat as he returned to the country after travelling to the hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Government minister Mohamed Shareef said the morning blast happened as the boat reached the main jetty in the capital of Male.

Mr Gayoom's wife Fathimath Ibrahim and several other officials received minor injuries.

Mr Shareef said the blast may have happened in the engine but it was too early to comment on the cause.

Boat accidents are common in the Indian Ocean archipelago state.

The country's international airport is on a separate island and a short boat trip is needed to reach the capital island.

Ahmed Hamdhoon, a local journalist who was on the jetty to cover Mr Gayoom's arrival, said he heard a huge blast as soon as the boat docked.

"The right door of the boat fell on the jetty and there was heavy smoke. People were screaming, "he said.

The Maldives, known for its luxurious island resorts, has been rocked by political infighting and disputed elections in recent years, but it is not known for serious political violence such as bomb attacks.


From Belfast Telegraph