Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers who are found to have violated the laws and regulation during the events leading to the controversial transfer of powers on February 7, will face disciplinary action, Defence Minister Ahmed Nazim has said.
Hours before former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation on February 7, uniformed police and 60-70 officers from the MNDF were seen by reporters and recorded siding with opposition protesters, and attacking the MNDF headquarters.
Video footage also shows rogue police, military officers and civilians, armed with stones and wooden sticks storming the state broadcaster’s compound prior to Nasheed’s resignation, using a firearm or some kind of explosive to break down the gates – later claimed to be a riot gun, in the former Commission of National Inquiry (CNI’s) preemptive report.
Nasheed’s party accuses police and MNDF officers of taking bribes from the then- opposition to oust Nasheed from power in a premeditated coup d’état, and have continued to vociferously challenge the legitimacy of the new coalition government of Dr Mohamed Waheed.
Both police and MNDF have meanwhile dismissed the allegations and refrained from commenting on their role in the alleged coup until the CNI completes its investigation into the February 7 events.
However, at a press conference on Sunday morning, Defense Minister confirmed an “internal inquiry” was conducted within MNDF to find information on February 7 events.
“I believed it is of great importance to find information about why the sequence of events which occurred inside MNDF took place – Because then only we can correct anything that has to be corrected based on the findings.” Nazim observed.
He noted final report complied following the internal inquiry is with him and it will not be made public as it is an internal matter and it may “influence” the CNI’s ongoing investigation.
When Minivan News asked whether any actions are to be taken against MNDF officers who were found to have violated the law on February 7 during the inquiry, Nazim responded: “Necessary disciplinary measures will be taken by us for any action committed by MNDF personnel, found to have violated the laws and regulations of the MNDF.”
However, so far, no such measures have been taken.
“We have an internal disciplinary committee. The committee will discuss and provide me with the steps that can be taken. Further action will proceed based on the recommendations,” said Nazim, who himself is facing accusations of being at the centre of organising the alleged coup.
Defense Minister Nazim’s involvement
Nazim today acknowledged that he is a “target” of allegations and repeated that he did not wish to further comment on the subject until the CNI concludes investigation.
However he continued to lambast the MDP’s report, calling it “an imaginary story”.
Recalling his victory in the civil suit filed against MDP government after he was sacked from the military, Nazim further encouraged officers – whose names and pictures have been published in the report – to file defamation suits against the MDP.
In a recently published MDP report on the February 7 events, ex-colonel Mohamed Nazim and ex-deputy commissioner Abdulla Riyaz (now Commissioner of police) have been accused of recruiting police and army officers to join the opposition’s protest.
Meanwhile, the timeline released by the government’s three-member Inquiry Commission also states that between 8:00am to 9:00am “some of the military who had come out of the building [MNDF head quarters] joined with the police, who were calling for the president’s resignation outside the headquarters at the time.”
The report further says that it was Nazim and Riyaz who entered MNDF headquarters as the violence escalated outside, and proposed Nasheed “should resign without any condition”.
“We told them these are non-negotiable conditions. These are not things up for further discussion. We assure the beloved Maldivians, military and police who are with us that, God willing, these things will happen this way by the deadline we have set for 1:30 today.” Nazim publicly announced on the morning of February 7, after coming out of the headquaters.
Asked on what grounds and on whose command he made a non-negotiable condition for Nasheed’s resignation, he commented: “The message I gave represented the sentiments of people outside. I gave their message on what they wanted.”
As some military officers were also seen outside with police and opposition protestors, Minivan News asked whether the message to unconditionally resign represented what that military officers wanted.
Nazim however replied, “We will know that after the investigation. We cannot blame any specific person.”