Maldives arrest foreign nationals over blast

Oct 1, 2007 (AFP) – The Maldives has arrested 10 suspects and is seeking outside help to investigate a bombing that wounded 12 foreign tourists in the first such attack on the holiday paradise, officials said Monday. The country appeared to have been largely spared religious fundamentalism although political tensions have flared periodically since an armed coup failed to oust Gayoom in 1988 but left 20 dead. The blast on Saturday at Sultan Park, a favourite stop for foreigners and locals visiting the capital island Male, wounded two Britons, two Japanese and eight Chinese.

Police were questioning those arrested over the attack, which has undermined the country’s image as one of South Asia’s safest holiday destinations.

“The 10 (arrested) include two Bangladesh nationals,” tourism minister Mahamood Shougee told AFP by telephone.

The government has blamed its political rivals.

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom described it as the first terrorist attack in the archipelago, and left the heaviest casualties on the one-square kilometre low-lying atoll since anti-Gayoom riots left two dead in September 2003.

The Maldivian authorities would seek help from “counterparts overseas” for the investigation, a