Two convicts who escaped from Maafushi Jail on October 16 were apprehended while on a hunt for a deal to commit murder or theft, Home Minister Umar Naseer has said.
Speaking at a ceremony to lay the foundation of a 20-foot wall around Maafushi Jail today, Naseer said Ibrahim Shahum Adam, 23 years, and Fariyash Ahmed, 26 years, had not intended to simply flee from jail, but declined to reveal details of the alleged deal.
Both Shahum and Fariyash were serving life sentences for murder.
Fariyash was apprehended in a café in Malé on October 21. He had shaved his beard, taken off his glasses and was wearing a wig at the time of arrest.
The police then enlisted the help of an armed team of soldiers in the nationwide ‘Operation Gator Hunt’ for Shahum. He was caught the next day in a guesthouse in Malé.
Naseer said Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) officers were not involved in aiding the two convicts escape from jail, but said several inmates had abetted the jailbreak.
The Maldives Police Services have arrested two men on charges of aiding Shahum and Fariyash’s escape. A 32-year-old man was arrested on Thursday and a 20-year-old man was arrested on Friday.
The 20-year-old has a previous record of drugs, theft, harassment and intimidation, and vandalism of property, a police statement on Friday said.
According to the Maldives Police Services, the MCS only noticed the two were missing 24 hours after their escape.
They had sawn off 22 bars on a window in the bathroom of cell number 14 in unit 9 of Maafushi Jail, the police said.
Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed has attributed Operation Gator Hunt’s success to interagency collaboration within the police.
Naseer today said he would use a dog squad periodically in preventing the entry of illicit drugs into Maafushi Jail.
In addition to the 20-foot wall, surveillance cameras, increased lighting and automatic locks will be used to strengthen security at the jail, he said.
Between 50 and 100 inmates will work for pay in constructing the wall. The MVR4.2 million (US$272,000) wall will stretch for 1.4 kilometers and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
The increased security measures will prevent inmates enslaving other inmates and violence within the jail, he added.
Jumhooree Party MP and former Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has called for an independent inquiry into the jailbreak.
Opposition MPs meanwhile contended that the government’s “negligence and irresponsibility” allowed the dangerous criminals to break out from a high security prison.