Foreign terrorist organisations are planning to overthrow President Abdulla Yameen’s government with help from elements of the police and military, former President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed.
“The government of our country is on the edge of being toppled. Foreign terrorist organisations and domestic institutions are carrying out this work swiftly together,” Nasheed said at a gathering of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last night near the Hulhumalé ferry terminal in Malé.
The opposition leader accused President Yameen of attempting to conceal the alleged efforts from the public, which Nasheed said would not benefit either Yameen or the Maldives.
The MDP would remain vigilant and watch developments closely, he said, adding that the party did not want any harm to befall the nation.
In late September, Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed dismissed allegations of links between Maldivian security services and foreign terrorist organisation as false and intended to bring disrepute to the police and military.
Waheed said such claims were harmful to national interest, adversely affects the economy, and could incite unrest and strife among the public.
Allegations that damage national interest and threaten national security would be investigated, Waheed warned, and “necessary action would be taken.”
Waheed’s remarks followed Nasheed claiming in an interview with the UK’s Independent newspaper that the vast majority of Maldivians fighting in Syria and Iraq were ex-military.
Following the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s claim in May that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services, the defence ministry dismissed the allegations as both “baseless and untrue” and intended to “discredit and disparage” the military.
The Maldives Police Service (MPS) meanwhile issued a press release on September 18 condemning Nasheed’s allegations in the Independent.
While police estimated that about 24 persons with links to militant jihadist organisations might be active in the Maldives, MPS insisted that none of them were police officers.
“And the police leadership has always been working to ensure that such people are not formed within the police,” the statement read.
Police urged all parties to refrain from making false statements “to gain the public’s support, achieve political purposes, or win approval from foreign nations”.
Police and gangs
Nasheed meanwhile went on to say that the unexplained disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan109 days ago symbolises the extent to which security and personal safety have been lost.
The police had solved only 53 of the 465 cases filed this year, Nasheed claimed.
The reason police are unable to properly investigate the cases was due to the involvement of police officers in most of the cases, he alleged.
Elements of the police and military were tied to criminal gangs in Malé, he continued, which were in turn connected to foreign terrorist organisations.
“We see all the dark activities happening in the Maldives going on through this connection,” he said.
Nasheed had previously suggested that radicalised gangs were behind the recent “atrocities” in the capital, noting that extremist religious indoctrination of youth was a relatively recent phenomenon in the Maldives.
He further claimed that many young men from criminal gangs were seen in a protest march held in Malé on September 5 with participants bearing the militant organisation Islamic State (IS) flag and calling for the implementation of Islamic Sharia.
Of the approximately 150 participants, Nasheed had said most were “active in gangs.”
Referring to a bomb threat made to a Flyme passenger flight this week, Nasheed noted last night that the incident occurred a year after a Flyme flight departing to Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Kaadehdhoo was delayed after a group threatened to hijack the plane.
“But police did not investigate the case,” he said, adding that the threats should be taken seriously.
“Our Maldives is under a dark cloud. Our Maldives is on the edge of a dangerous pit,” he said.
The MDP was forced to take to the streets once more because of President Yameen’s “carelessness and arrogance” in response to Rilwan’s disappearance, Nasheed said.
The party would not back down in efforts to hold the government accountable and push for good governance, he added.
Nasheed also claimed that an internal opinion poll conducted by the government revealed that its support among the public was below 25 percent.
The MDP’s victories in recent by-elections has shown that a majority was behind the opposition party, he contended.