The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has issued a statement challenging claims made by private broadcaster Raajje TV, which aired a voice recording of a MNDF officer stating that beer cans discovered during the police dismantling of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s protest camp had been planted by security services.
‘’We do not believe the audio is a voice recording of a MNDF officer that was in the area that day,’’ the MNDF said in the statement. ‘’We believe that the voice has been edited.’’
MNDF said it condemned attempts to slander the MNDF.
In the voice recording released by Raajje TV, the MNDF officer admits taking beer cans to the area and keeping the beer cans inside a box in the area. He also says that the beer cans were cold when then they were taken to the area.
CEO of Raajje TV Abdulla Rafeeq told Minivan News that the voice recording was “100 percent valid” and “the voice of a member of the armed forces”.
‘’In our news we did not mention whether it was a MNDF officer or Police officer, we only said it was a member of the armed forces,’’ Rafeeq said. ‘’We did not edit the voice recording but we changed the voice to keep the source anonymous.’’
‘’There are other officers of the armed forces that have witnessed the incident,’’ he said. ‘’This officer that gave us the interview said he just could not ignore the matter knowing all this.’’
On March 19, Police and MNDF officers entered the MDP’s protest camp and demolished all evidence of it, taking down the podium, tents, yellow flags, and even repainting the seawall to remove anti-government slogans.
Media was initially ordered to leave the area, but was subsequently readmitted. Police then claimed to have discovered beer cans, homemade alcohol and condoms.
The MDP has since accused the police and MNDF officers of planting the items to discredit the MDP.