Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed injured in bomb explosion in capital Male

The former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed was injured in a bomb blast in the capital, Male.

The blast happened as he was about to get into a car outside his home on Thursday evening.

Local media reports a home-made explosive device was planted on a motorbike that was parked nearby.

A team from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) force will travel to the Maldives to help in the investigation.

Mr Nasheed, 53, was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives and has been an outspoken critic of hard-line Islamists. He won multi-party elections in 2008 but was ousted in a coup four years later.

Mr Nasheed is currently serving as the speaker in parliament, which is the Indian Ocean nation’s second-most powerful position.

President Ibrahim Solih described the explosion as “an attack on Maldives’ democracy and economy.”

Mr Nasheed was barred from contesting the 2018 presidential elections after he was convicted of criminal charges.

However, he returned to the country from self-imposed exile after his party won the 2018 presidential elections and then entered parliament.

The Maldives is a largely Sunni Muslim nation made up of 1,192 individual islands south-west of the Indian sub-continent. It is renowned as a holiday destination for its beaches and luxury resorts.

Its political history has been unsettled since the electoral defeat of long-serving President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2008 ended decades of autocratic rule.

Supporters of Mr Nasheed have gathered outside the hospital where he is being treated. The situation is reported to be tense and police with riot gear have been deployed.