COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The president of the Maldives was saved from assassination Tuesday when a boy scout grabbed the knife of an attacker who had jumped out of a crowd greeting the leader, an official said.
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was not hurt, but his shirt was ripped when the attacker tried to stab him before the boy and security guards intervened during the event on the small island of Horafushi, said government spokesman Mohammad Shareef.
“This fellow in the crowd with a knife in his hand attempted to stab the president in his stomach” Shareef said by telephone from Male, the capital. “But a 15-year-old boy came in the way, and grabbed the knife. One brave boy saved the president’s life.”
The scout was identified as Mohamed Jaisham Ibrahim, who had lined up to welcome Gayoom, according to the president’s Web site.
The boy was injured in the hand by the knife. “His wound was stitched but later he complained that he could not move some of his fingers, so he was flown by a sea plane to Male” Shareef said.
“There was blood on the president’s shirt, but it was not his but the boy’s. Still we got a physician to examine him” Shareef said.
A photograph of the boy on the Web site of the Haveeru daily showed him wearing a blue scouting uniform with a blue kerchief around his neck waiting in line to greet the president.
Boy scouts in the Maldives are similar to their U.S. counterparts, receiving training in first aid and participating in activities such as camping. Like in the U.S., their motto is “Be prepared.”
And he was.