Maldives announces end to state of emergency

An aerial view of the island of Male, the capital of the Maldives.
An aerial view of the island of Male, the capital of the Maldives.PHOTO: AFP

MALE (REUTERS) - The Maldives on Tuesday lifted a state of emergency declared by the president earlier this month, saying security had improved after the authorities detained individuals and seized illegal weapons.

The 30-day emergency was declared by President Abdulla Yameen on Nov 4, after officials discovered explosive devices near his residence, as well as stashes of weapons. That followed an explosion on Mr Yameen's boat in September that the government said was an attempt on his life.

"Maldives lifts State of Emergency (SoE) with immediate effect," the foreign affairs ministry said on Twitter.

"All fundamental rights restored in the Maldives."

The emergency had drawn widespread criticism, by the United States and European Union among other. The Maldives said it had considered that when deciding to lift the decree.

"Security forces have arrested individuals who held illegal weapons, and the overall security situation in the country has improved," the foreign ministry said in a tweet.

During the emergency, Mr Yameen's government impeached Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb, who was arrested in connection with the alleged plot to assassinate him. Mr Yameen escaped unhurt in the Sept 28 blast, but his wife and two aides were injured.

The emergency decree is the latest political turmoil to hit the country. Former president Mohamed Nasheed was imprisoned in March for 13 years on terrorism charges following a trial the international community and human rights groups have said was politically motivated.