Police in the Maldives said Wednesday they had arrested four people over the killing of a lawmaker, whose stabbing has raised tension in the politically restive nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.
Three men and a woman were detained and were undergoing questioning in connection with Tuesday's killing of Afrasheem Ali, an MP from the Progressive Party of Maldives, police spokesman Hassan Haneef told AFP.
"This is the early stage of the investigation and we have not revealed the identity of the people in custody," Haneef said, adding that a hotline had been set up for members of the public with information about the crime.
President Mohamed Waheed in a statement condemned the murder of Ali, 46, whose party is in the ruling coalition.
"President Waheed has said that the government will exercise all its tools in bringing to justice those responsible for this act of brutality," his office said in a statement.
Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed urged Maldivians to unite and help prevent violent crime in a country better known as a honeymoon destination than a hotbed of political unrest.
"Despite political differences, everyone must sit down and find a solution to these issues," Jameel said in a statement published Wednesday on the website of the Haveeru newspaper.
Amnesty International condemned the killing of Ali, an Islamic scholar, and urged the government to ensure a thorough investigation that meets international standards.
"Given the current tense climate in the Maldives, all political actors must show restraint and ensure that this killing does not lead to more violence," Amnesty said in a statement.
The murder came amid demonstrations, uncertainty and occasional violence in the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago since former leader Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in February following anti-government protests and a mutiny by police.
Judges on Tuesday issued a fresh summons for Nasheed, who snubbed the start of his trial on Monday where he was to face charges of abusing his power while in office.
Nasheed's opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has condemned the killing of Ali, a childhood friend of Nasheed. Government officials said he was given a state funeral Tuesday and the country would be in mourning for three days.