The Island Court of Thulusdhoo has ordered police to hand over the keys of the former Atoll office in Thulusdhoo to councilors immediately.
Yesterday, in a council meeting held in Kaafu Atoll Office in Maafushi, the newly elected Kaafu Atoll councilors decided to move the current Atoll office to its former premises based in Kaafu Atoll, Thulusdhoo.
However, after the decision was made, police confiscated the keys of the former Kaafu Atoll office in Thulushoo and councilors were not allowed to enter. Councilors then requested the island court order police to hand over the keys.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News that the atoll office building in Thulusdhoo “is an asset of the government, so the councilors will have to come to a common understanding with the government if they want to enter the building.”
Shiyam said that police had taken the keys due to a conflict between the government and the newly appointed local council over officially handing over the building.
“The building in question belongs to the government, which therefore has to agree to officially hand it over to the council,” he said. “The situation requires some form of agreement between the two parties and this is what the police have tried to [negotiate].”
Shiyam said that it was waiting for the government and council representatives to come to “some sort of understanding” in order to solve the dispute.
He said he could not comment on whether the police would be obeying the island court order.
Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that councilors do not have the authority to decide where the atoll office would be located.
”When this government came in to administration, the atoll office of Kaafu Atoll was located in Thulushdoo, once when the Province state minister visited Thulusdhoo, islanders forced him to leave the island,” Zuhair explained.
”So by presidential decree, President Nasheed moved the atoll office to Maafushi, to locate the atoll office on an island where province state minister could visit.”
Zuhair said that the decision of the Kaafu Atoll councilors “harms the sovereignty of the state.”
”It’s not within their legal power to decide whether they will have the atoll office on an uninhabited island or inside president’s office, only the president has that authority,” he said, adding that ”the atoll councilors will have to report to the atoll office wherever it is located”.
the dispute led to a confrontation between police and citizens of Thulusdhoo, according to the local media, in which both police and islanders were said to have been injured.