Maldives police hunt for second bomb

Nov 22, 2007 (AFP) – Maldivian authorities are searching for a second bomb believed to have been part of a plot by Islamic extremists to attack the country’s vital tourism industry, police said Thursday. Police are also investigating possible links with foreign militant groups after the Indian press reports highlighted that some of the suspects had links to a Kashmiri separatist group. Militants had planned to set off a second bomb almost simultaneously with a first blast which hurt 12 foreign tourists on September 29 in the capital Male, police said.

“We are acting on an intelligence tip off after we arrested eight more suspects in connection with the Sultan Park bomb,” assistant police commissioner Abdullah Riyaz told AFP by telephone from Male.

“We don’t know the whereabouts of the bomb, but we are looking for it very hard,” Riyaz said.

The Maldives has been on high alert since Islamic militants struck in a religiously motivated attack on the tourism industry which accounts for a third of the country’s economy.

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has ruled since 1978, has ordered a crackdown on religious dissent, banning women from wearing the full veil and foreign preachers as well