Over 50 Maldivian militants fighting in foreign wars, reveals Commissioner of Police

There are over 50 Maldivians fighting in foreign wars, Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed has revealed.

“These people leave the country under normal procedures. So it is not easy to identify if they are traveling to go fight with foreign rebel groups,” Waheed told the press today.

“However, within a few days we hear that they have joined these groups. Our statistics estimate there are 50 Maldivians working with foreign rebel groups.”

The commissioner’s estimate dwarfs the figure suggested by Home Minister Umar Naseer to  the People’s Majlis in December. Naseer at the time said that over seven Maldivians were fighting abroad.

In the past fortnight, at least twelve Maldivians have traveled to Syria via turkey for jihad.

Responding to a question from Minivan News on mechanisms to prevent radicalisation, Waheed said police might reveal plans at a later late.

“We are working on it. Even now, we are doing a lot of work with the Islamic ministry and other relevant government institutions.”

The police do not yet know who the most vulnerable groups to radicalisation are in the Maldives, Waheed continued, pointing out recent jihadis included both genders, urban and rural areas, and people of all ages.

When asked if radicalised groups posed a domestic terrorist threat, Waheed said the police are tracking individuals associated with foreign militant groups.

“We know who the foreign militants are. We are monitoring their activities. My hope is, I believe we will be able to monitor them to the extent they are unable to [present a threat] in the Maldives.”

He appealed to the public to share any reports of individuals who may leave the Maldives for jihad.


According to reliable sources, a group of six that left the country on December 27 included two immigration officers. Others in the group include two women who are spouses of two of the men and a one year old infant.

The second group of seven all belonged to Malé’s Kuda Henveiru gang. They include a suspect in the brutal murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali, Azlif Rauf.

Azlif’s group also included an individual arrested over the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan, one man arrested for issuing a death threat, one man classified by the police as a dangerous criminal, and three men with criminal records, local media have reported.

Waheed refused to comment on Azlif’s whereabouts.

In 2013, the former Maldivian National Defense Force officer was put under house arrest over pending terrorism charges, but the Prosecutor General’s Office withdrew charges last September.

Waheed said the police can only prevent such people from leaving the country if the force receives prior information that they may be traveling for jihad.

Maldivians are not barred from international travel, Waheed said, and so “it is not easy to figure out what motive they are traveling for”.

In November, Sri Lankan police detained three Maldivians who were allegedly preparing to travel to Syria through Turkey.

The incident followed reports of a couple from Fuvahmulah and a family of four from Meedhoo in Raa Atoll travelling to militant organisation Islamic State-held (IS) territories.

In November, a jihadist group called Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) – which describes itself as ‘Maldivians in Syria’ – revealed that a fifth Maldivian had died in Syria.

protest march took place in the capital, Malé, in September, with around 200 participants bearing the IS flag and calling for the implementation of Islamic Shariah in the Maldives.

In late August, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon issued a press statement condemning “the crimes committed against innocent civilians by the organisation which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

Related to this story

Two immigration officers and Afrasheem murder suspect among group of twelve jihadis

More than seven Maldivians fighting in foreign civil wars, reveals home minister

MDN investigation implicates radicalised gangs in Rilwan’s disappearance

Police detain Maldivian jihadis caught in Sri Lanka


5 thoughts on “Over 50 Maldivian militants fighting in foreign wars, reveals Commissioner of Police”

  1. What we need to do is send off all the DOT extremists, Sheikh Imran and his Adhaalth’s top fundamentalist preachers to Syria so that they can quickly go to Paradise from there.
    More importantly, Majlis should pass a law to bar citizenship for any Maldivian who has gone to Syria or any other country to fight for extremist causes or terrorism. By law we must prevent their return to Maldives.
    For the sake of peace and stability in Maldives, it is a sacred duty upon the Government to rid this country of all forms of religious extremism.
    Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. A bunch of power hungry Sunni extremists are trying to hijack Islam to grab power and spread their barbarism under the guise of Islam. They target vulnerable youth in Islamic societies for subversion.

    Islamic extremism and fundamentalism are the single biggest threat facing Muslim societies. They are an existential threat to peaceful, tolerant Muslim countries. The threat they pose western nations are secondary compared to the chaos they are unleashing in Muslim countries.

  2. When politicians use religion as a weapon to hang on to power.. for some shortcut to paradise is the only solution to escape the oppression.

  3. Maldives is a peaceful moderate Muslim state.but don't know its future because its getting more and more islamaised. Maldivian should say no to all form of extreme interpretation of islam.also be careful of wahabi salafi preaching.

  4. These extremists do not only pose a threat to the Maldives but to the rest of the world. This is seen from the tweets by the Maldivian Jihadist who had tweeted with a reference to the Paris attack before it happened. It is so typical of some Maldivians to call names. Why did he want to call the french snail eaters? Us Maldiivans can be called many names too from what we eat. Anyway, I myself crave the life we led when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, a life of moderate islam and tolerance, a life where there weren't hate mongers. Extremism need to be eradicated from our beautiful country before they take us over!


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