Maldives defence minister sacked

2015-01-20 17:43

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Colombo - The Maldivian president Tuesday announced the sacking of his defence minister Mohamed Nazim, days after police carried out a pre-dawn raid on his home.

"President Abdulla Yameen has today dismissed Col (Rtd) Mohamed Nazim from the post of Minister of Defence and National Security," the presidency said in a statement, without giving any reason for Nazim's removal.

Yameen had appointed retired army general Moosa Ali Jaleel, 54, as the new defence minister, the statement said.

Nazim's sacking comes after police were seen taking away unspecified documents during a raid early on Sunday, having reportedly obtained a search warrant on suspicion he was "harbouring weapons and explosives".

The sacked minister played a key role in the toppling of the country's first democratically elected leader Mohamed Nasheed, who has said he was the victim of a coup in February 2012.

Despite being a member of Nasheed's government, Nazim sided with mutinous police and troops who forced Nasheed to step down. Nasheed later said he resigned because he feared violence.

The Maldives is known for pristine beaches and secluded coral islands popular with honeymooners. But the nation of 330 000 Sunni Muslims is plagued by rising religious intolerance and political unrest.

Read more on:    maldives
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