Army colonel is new Maldives defence minister

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 09, 2012 07:10 hrs

Colombo, Feb 9 (IANS) In a bid to shore up his power, new Maldives President Mohamed Waheed has appointed two new ministers including an army colonel who will be the minister of defence.

Waheed appointed Mohamed Jameel Ahmed as the home minister and Mohamed Nazim as the minister of defence and national security late Wednesday, the President's Office said.

The president asked the ministers to employ their "experiences" to turmoil that has gripped the atoll nation after Mohamed Nasheed was forced to resign as president Tuesday following street protests.

Waheed succeeded him Tuesday evening. Nasheed's whereabouts are presently not known. His wife has fled to Sri Lanka.

Since Nasheed's resignation, violence has spiralled in capital Male and outlying atoll islands, media reports said.

Nazim has previously served as captain at the National Security Service and as Major, Lt Col and Colonel with the Maldives National Defence Force. Thalhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu was the earlier defence minister.

Jameel had earlier held the post of minister of civil aviation and communication during Nasheed's administration.

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