Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives and the new speaker of parliament, was wounded in a suspected bomb blast on Thursday and was rushed to the hospital, according to officials and residents.

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Nasheed, 53, was getting into his car in Male’s capital when the explosion occurred, according to a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) official who spoke to AFP by phone.

“It appears to be some kind of improvised explosive device, probably attached to a parked motorcycle,” the official said, adding that an investigation was underway.

Nasheed’s injuries were not described in any detail. One of his bodyguards was also admitted to the hospital.

The explosion was heard in the capital, according to Male residents.

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Following his party’s landslide victory in April 2019 elections, Nasheed was elected parliament speaker, the second most powerful position in the Indian Ocean country.

After winning the first multi-party elections in 2008, he became the country’s first directly elected president. He was deposed in a coup in 2012, and after being convicted on criminal charges, he was unable to run in the 2018 presidential elections.

He did, however, return to the country after his party won the 2018 presidential elections and was elected to parliament.

The assault was strongly criticised by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

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“Cowardly attacks like these have no place in our society,” he said in a statement on Twitter. President Nasheed and the other victims of the attack, as well as their families, are in my thoughts and prayers.”

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