FBI: No bomb on Maldives leader's boat

WASHINGTON/MALE • The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it has found no conclusive evidence that an explosion on a boat transporting Maldives President Abdulla Yameen was caused by a bomb.

The Maldives government, however, said the FBI statement was contrary to the outcome of other investigators.

Though the government initially said the blast on Sept 28 could have resulted from mechanical failure, it later cited investigators from the FBI, Australia, Saudi Arabia, India and Sri Lanka to assert it was an attempt on Mr Yameen's life.

The president, who rose to power in a bitterly contested presidential election in 2013, escaped unharmed, but his wife and two officials were injured.

The FBI was one of the outside agencies asked by the government to look into the blast.

FBI spokesman Josh Campbell said, in an e-mail statement to Reuters on Saturday, that the evidence submitted for analysis was determined to be from the boat and not parts of an improvised explosive device (IED).

"Based on the FBI's analysis - which included forensic analysis of the scene, analysis of the items recovered from the scene, and chemical testing - there is no conclusive evidence to attribute the explosion on the boat to an IED," Mr Campbell said.

The Maldives Foreign Ministry, on its official Twitter feed, said the FBI forensic report was inconclusive. Home Minister Umar Naseer said yesterday that the police in the Maldives would have the final say on the investigation.

Reports from India and Australia have yet to be received.

"No forensic investigation will ever say conclusively something happened for certain," Mr Naseer told reporters, adding that explosives may not have left traces and evidence could have been tampered with.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2015, with the headline 'FBI: No bomb on Maldives leader's boat'. Print Edition | Subscribe