The Maldives' president appealed for calm Sunday, after his deputy was arrested on suspicion of treason for allegedly plotting to assassinate him with an explosion on his boat. President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who escaped the Sept. 28 blast unhurt, told reporters it "was not easy" to see the arrest of 33-year-old VP Ahmed Adeeb, a protege appointed only three months ago. Adeeb's arrest was made "for the security of the country," Gayoom said, but added that any impeachment would await a trial. The arrest marks the latest in a series of power struggles in the Maldives that have seized the fragile democracy since it held its first elections in 2008, after 30 years of autocracy under Gayoom's half-brother.
In July, Adeeb was moved from the Tourism Ministry to become vice president, after lawmakers loyal to Gayoom impeached his predecessor and lowered the minimum presidential age from 35 to 30. The promotion put Adeeb next in line for the presidency. After the explosion tore through the president's boat last month—injuring Gayoom's wife and two aides, reports Reuters—rumors began circulating that Adeeb was responsible. Investigators that included the FBI ruled out mechanical failure, and the government said an explosive device was under the seat Gayoom usually occupied. Adeeb was taken into custody Saturday upon returning from an official visit to China. Three soldiers were also arrested, including a former member of Adeeb's security detail and a member of the army's bomb squad, bringing the total number detained to seven. (Read more Maldives stories.)