President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has warned that some elements of society are trying to “spread terrorism” and threaten national security, as he urged the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) to remain steadfast in fulfilling its responsibility to protect the safety and welfare of public.
According to the President Office website, Dr Waheed made the remarks in his first address to the MNDF, as the country’s new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Speaking on the democratic changes taking place in the country, Dr Waheed noted that along with the efforts to bring modern democratic changes to the country, people’s outlook and behaviour had also changed, the President Office said.
Dr Waheed further said that with the rapid changes taking place, a “dark cloud of unpleasant events” was looming over the country, and added that the Islamic and humane values and principles that the Maldives had followed were now diminishing, according to the office.
“This is a national issue that we have to deeply think about. Disagreements are inevitable, as we try to create a modern democracy. Disagreements are not an issue. However we must all try to prevent animosity, anger and conflict growing out of those disagreements”, Dr Waheed was quoted as saying.
“Stating that there were a few among us who encourage unacceptable behaviours, calling for disruption of law and order, the President said some elements in the society have been trying to spread terrorism that would threaten national security”, the President’s Office reported.
“He, therefore, said that this problem should be addressed at a national level.”
The statement did not articulate who was behind the alleged terrorism. However recently Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel had warned of levying terrorism charges against MDP supporters, accusing them of being responsible for the nationwide unrest on February 8, which was sparked after a brutal crack down on MDP’s peaceful march in response to the events of the previous day.
Amid the unrest, police property and other public buildings such as courtrooms across 10 islands in six atolls were torched and vandalised.
The President’s Office said that Dr Waheed contended that at this time of great challenge, the country required the national defence forces to stay steadfast in fulfilling their responsibilities.
The office said that in his speech the President also reminded the MNDF that they a number of very important national responsibilities resting on their shoulders, which included maintaining the sovereignty, security and harmony of the country, as well as, the protection of the safety and welfare of members of the public.
“Praising the military’s commitment, the President also highlighted their many sacrifices over the past years. He said that the MNDF were the frontline of national service and said they deserved credit for their professionalism, capabilities and perseverance,” President Office reported.
Dr Waheed’s praise to the MNDF comes in the face of increased speculation that the country’s security forces combining the MNDF and police assisted the opposition in a bloodless coup to depose Dr Waheed’s predecessor Mohamed Nasheed, from Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on February 7.