Scout, 15, foils bid to assassinate Maldives President

A 15-year-old scout stopped a man from stabbing the Maldives President with a kitchen knife yesterday by seizing the blade.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Gayoom, who was unharmed in the incident, later paid tribute to Mohamed Jaisham, who was wearing a green scout uniform with scarf and woggle as he foiled the attack by wrestling with the man and grabbing the blade, sustaining an injury to his hand.

"I have been saved thanks to Mohamed Jaisham and Allah," Mr Gayoom said in a national radio address afterwards.

The attack took place on the northern island of Hoarafushi, which with 3,000 residents is one of the most heavily populated of the 1,200 islands that make up the Maldives. Mr Gayoom had been meeting supporters after the inauguration of a renewable energy project.

"He was shaking hands with supporters, when a young man came and tried to stab him," said a presidential spokesman, Mohamed Shareef. "He was saved by a boy who moved in the way and tried to grab the knife and suffered a serious injury to his hand. The President was not hurt, but the knife did catch his shirt. It was definitely an assassination attempt."

The attacker, who is in his early twenties, has been arrested. Mr Shareef said the attack was more likely to have been the work of Mr Gayoom's political rivals than Islamist hardliners, and he dismissed talk of a connection with a bomb blast in the capital Male in September, which raised fears of a militant campaign by al-Qa'ida.