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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK
Tourists hurt in Maldives blast
The Maldives bomb going off
CCTV cameras captured the moment the bomb went off
Twelve tourists have been wounded in a bomb blast in a park near the main mosque in the Maldives capital of Male, the UK Foreign Office has said.

Two Britons, two Japanese and eight Chinese tourists were hurt by the bomb - reported to have been homemade.

Local media said the blast was triggered using a mobile phone and washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder.

This is the first time a bomb has exploded in the Maldives.

It is not yet clear who was behind the attack, or what the intended target was.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed the British pair, thought to be a couple in their 30s, lived in the Gulf state of Qatar.

'Burns and cuts'

It is thought they were staying on Baros - one of 87 designated tourist islands in the Maldives.

Maldives government spokesman Mohamed Shareef confirmed 12 people had received burn injuries and said the victims were in a stable condition. He said the British nationals had suffered the most serious injuries.

Police in Maldives
Police officers have been investigating the bomb site

"The Maldives has never had something like this before. We are taking this very seriously because tourism is our life blood," he said.

Ahmed Afaal, managing director of the ADK Hospital in Male where the two injured Britons are being treated, said the British victims were a woman aged 31 and a 36-year-old man.

He said: "The female has got first degree and second degree burns covering up to 40% of her body. And the male has got 27% burns."

A spokeswoman for Universal Resorts, which owns hotels complexes in the Maldives, said 10 of those injured, including the Britons, were staying with them.

Army headquarters

She said: "As far as we are aware Universal Resorts have a total of 10 guests who were injured, two of whom were UK citizens that actually live in Qatar.

"Those two guests are being taken care of in the hospital in Male and are with Universal Resorts staff.

"They have requested that they would like to go back to Qatar as soon as possible."

The two other injured tourists, who were not guests of Universal Resorts, are believed to be from Japan.

Map of Maldives
The Maldives has a reputation for tranquillity

A Foreign Office official is flying to the Maldives to provide consular assistance. The Foreign Office does not have staff permanently based in the Maldives.

A witness reported seeing scattered nails after the blast.

The park is in the shadow of the Maldives army headquarters and several surveillance cameras are trained on the area.

More than 600,000 tourists visited the Maldives last year, and the tourist industry is the linchpin of the country's economy.

The Muslim country has a reputation for tranquillity among tourists but in recent years the government of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been repeatedly criticised for its handling of opposition protests.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Aftermath of the explosion



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