COLOMBO, Sri LankaA quick-thinking Boy Scout foiled an assassination attempt on the president of the Maldives on Tuesday, grabbing an attacker's knife as the man leapt from a crowd and lunged at the leader, an official said. President Maumoon Gayoom was unhurt, but his shirt was ripped as the attacker tried a second time to stab him before being overpowered by security guards, government spokesman Mohammed Shareef said. "One brave boy saved the president's life," he said.
Mohammed Jaisham Ibrahim, 15, wearing his blue Maldives scout uniform with a blue kerchief, was standing in the crowd to greet Gayoom on Hoarafushi, one of the 1,190 coral islands in the Indian Ocean that make up the Maldives. The attacker hid a knife in the Maldivian flag as he awaited Gayoom's arrival, then lunged at the president, Shareef said.
Ibrahim reached out and grabbed the blade, and he was cut on the hand, according to the government. "There was blood on the president's shirt, but it was not his but the boy's," Shareef said.
"His wound was stitched, but later he complained that he could not move some of his fingers," Shareef said, adding the youngster was flown to the Maldives' capital, Male, for treatment.
Boy Scouts in the Maldives are similar to their U.S. counterparts, receiving training in first aid and participating in activities like camping. Their motto is the same as well: "Be Prepared." After the attack, Gayoom addressed the nation in a radio broadcast, thanking the teenager and calling for calm, according to the Web site of the Minivan newspaper.
Later in the day, four more conspirators were arrested.