Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, who was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt, was flown to Germany Thursday for treatment, officials said.

The 53-year-old democracy pioneer and climate activist was the target of a remote-controlled bomb rigged to a motorbike one week ago in the capital Male.

He underwent 16 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from his liver, lungs and abdomen. The hospital discharged him Thursday, clearing the way for a medical evacuation to Germany.

An ambulance surrounded by heavy security took Nasheed to the airport where a special flight was waiting.

Hospital employees posted a photo of Nasheed on social media in a blue medical jacket posing with four staff members.

Nasheed thanked the staff in his first Twitter comment since the May 6 attack.

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed was the target of a remote controlled bomb in Male
Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed was the target of a remote controlled bomb in Male AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI

"A special thanks to the health sector of the Maldives," Nasheed said. "By the grace of Allah, I remain committed to delivering democratic good governance for the people."

Police have arrested three men in connection with the attack, which they said was linked to Islamic extremism.

There has been no claim of responsibility but Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party has said religious extremists and political interests could be involved.

The Indian Ocean archipelago of 340,000 people is majority Muslim and has had past brushes with Islamic extremism in the past.

In October 2019 police arrested a suspected Islamic State recruiter accused of sending dozens of Maldivians to Syria.

Nasheed ended decades of one-party rule in the Maldives and became its first democratically elected president in 2008, only to be toppled in a coup in 2012.

He is known internationally for championing the fight against climate change and rising sea levels that threaten the nation of 1,192 coral islands.