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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 16:43 GMT
Maldives suspects 'in Pakistan'
Map of Maldives
Police in the Maldives say 10 suspects in a bomb attack on foreign tourists in September, which wounded 12, are on the run in Pakistan.

A police spokesman told Reuters they were seeking support from Interpol to arrest the fugitives.

Eleven suspects are already in custody for the 29 September attack near a mosque in the capital Male.

Maldives attracts more than 500,000 tourists every year, who provide an estimated two thirds of its income.

Growing militancy

Of the 11 suspects in detention, police say three have confessed to planting the device to "target, attack and injure non-Muslims, to fulfil jihad".

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
President Gayoom has confronted Islamist militants

"Several of the fugitives, as well as some of the suspects detained in the Maldives, received training in bomb making in Pakistani madrassas (Islamic schools)," the police spokesman said.

Maldives, where a moderate form of Islam was practiced for the past 700 years, fears an infiltration of Islamic radicals.

The country's leader since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, intends to ban the full veil and prevent foreign preachers entering the country.

But his plans have encountered resistance from religious scholars and an increasingly popular conservative Islamic political party.

SEE ALSO
'Militants' arrested in Maldives
08 Oct 07 |  South Asia
Ten arrested over Maldives blast
01 Oct 07 |  South Asia
Country profile: The Maldives
21 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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