Police find handmade gun in Gan woods

The Maldives Police Services have uncovered a handmade gun hidden in the woods of Laamu Atoll Gan Island.

The improvised firearm was found on February 12, the police said in a statement last night. No arrests have been made yet.

Gan is the largest island in the Maldives, but has a population of only 3,543 people. Large areas of the island remain uninhabited.

In Septmber 2013, two men were charged with terrorism over handmade weapons found in a Malé workshop. The Criminal Court has held a first hearing into the case, the Prosecutor General’s office confirmed today.

According to Haveeru, the police had found an improvised pistol, a sniper rifle and a mine during the raid. The operation was carried out on a tipoff that residents of the house were planning to depart on jihad to Syria. But Haveeru claims there is no evidence to suggest the suspects were attempting to leave the country.

The Anti- Terrorism Act bars Maldivians from possessing firearms and explosive devices. The offense carries a jail term between 10 and 15 years.

In January, Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed said there were over 50 Maldivians fighting in foreign wars.

In 2007, a home made bomb was set off at Sultan Park injuring twelve tourists, including eight from China, two from Britain and two from Japan. The blast was triggered using a mobile phone and washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder.

Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim is currently in jail on suspicion of terrorism and treason after the police discovered a pistol and live bullets during a midnight raid on January 18.

Nazim was subsequently dismissed from his ministerial post. The police later claimed to also have found an improvised explosive device at Nazim’s house.

He was arrested on midnight on February 10. The Criminal Court the next day extended his remand for 15 days.

The police have since accused Nazim of plotting to overthrow the government and harm senior government officials.

Nazim’s lawyers claim the former minister is being framed and have said the firearms were planted.

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