Police search six houses as part of special operation conducted in Addu

Police have searched six houses on Hithadhoo in Addu City as part of a special operation conducted by the police Special Operations (SO) team based in Addu for elections security.

A police spokesperson would not confirm whether anybody was arrested during the raids.

However, Police South Division Commander, Chief Inspector Ahmed Shifan, told local news outlet Sun Online that police had confiscated hard disks and related items from some of the houses.

Shifan also told the paper that the houses were searched in bid to clarify certain information required for a case police were investigating, and that all the houses were searched after obtaining a court warrant.

He declined to provide further information.

Police had previously searched the premises of a house owned by a senior activist of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on the island of Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, who was arrested on allegations that he had printed ballot papers. Police also confiscated the internal hard disk of his computer.

An island council source on Kulhudhufushi at the time told Minivan News that the party was alleged to have printed oversize, laminated versions of the ballot paper to demonstrate to people how to vote.

The MDP issued a statement saying the party had sent a letter to Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz asking him to return the hard disk back to the MDP, as it contained important material related to the MDP presidential election campaign.

On June 24, police decided to station Special Operations (SO) officers in Addu to work with the Thinadhoo police station and establish “peace and security” for the election.

On February 7, 2012, SO officers among others instigated a violent mutiny, assaulted government supporters, ransacked the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Haruge (meeting hall), staged a protest at the Republic Square demanding the resignation of then-President Mohamed Nasheed, clashed with soldiers and stormed the national broadcaster in the hours immediately preceding Nasheed’s controversial resignation.

Moreover, on February 8, 2012 SO officers brutally beat supporters of the deposed MDP during a heavy-handed crackdown of a protest march led by Nasheed, who had announced that his resignation the previous day was made “under duress.”

Mayor of Addu City Abdulla ‘Soabe’ Sodiq did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.