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Cablegate: Maldivian President Survives Attack

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0026 0080947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080947Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7444
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4210
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1698
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 8211
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0726
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000026

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INS, USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER ML
SUBJECT: MALDIVIAN PRESIDENT SURVIVES ATTACK

1. (U) The Maldivian Deputy High Commissioner in Sri Lanka
telephoned Ambassador on January 8 to inform us that
President Gayoum had been attacked earlier in the day by an
unknown Maldivian assailant with a knife during a visit by
Gayoum to the island of Huvarafushi in the northern atoll of
Haa-alif. The Deputy High Commissioner reported that the
President had not been hurt thanks to the efforts of a young
Maldivian scout and the President's own security who subdued
the attacker before he reached the President. An
investigation is underway to identify the assailant and
ascertain his motives. The President subsequently appeared
on Maldivian television to reassure the public that he was
unharmed and would continue his visits to islands in the
north. Ambassador asked that the Deputy High Commissioner
convey to the President the relief and best wishes of the
Ambassador and the United States Government that the
President had not been harmed.

2. (U) Comment: President Gayoum inaugurated with the
Ambassador on January 7 a combined wind and solar energy
project using wind technology from the American company
Southwest Windpower on the nearby island of Uligama (septel).
The President told Ambassador that since he had come to the
north for this ceremony, he would use the opportunity to
visit neighboring islands to meet the local island leaders
and people. Ambassador remarked to the President's staff
that the President took the trouble to shake the hand of
every islander who waited at the dock for his arrival and
that security seemed light, apart from a plain-clothes
security officer next to the President. The staff reported
that the President likes mingling with the people and has
little to fear since Maldivians do not own firearms.
Security clearly will be enhanced after this incident.
Embassy will report more as details emerge.
BLAKE

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