Transcript: MNDF Staff Sergeant Shafraz Naeem’s CoNI account of Feb 7 mutiny

This article was first published by Dhivehi Sitee. Republished with permission.

On 7 February 2012, MNDF Staff Sergeant Shafraz Naeem was commanding Bravo, one of the Bandara Koshi Battalion riot squads that confronted the mutinying SO police in front of the military headquarters. He resigned five days later.

“I have lost faith in the institution,” he told the Commission of National Inquiry [CoNI] later. This is Shafraz Naeem’s account of what occurred during the mutiny, reconstructed from the transcript CoNI’s interview with him on 7 July.

I was commander of the riot squad of the Bandara Koshi (BK) Battalion from the time the protests began. We were supporting the MNDF riot squad.

We were on standby till 11:30 p.m. [6 February], when we were dispatched to Artificial Beach. The police were withdrawing when we arrived. My squad placed three cordons in the area. Nobody was violent, but there was much verbal abuse.

I received an order to withdraw to Sawmill. “If we withdraw, there will be trouble,” I said to my senior, [Lt.] Ali Ihusan. We withdrew.

Shortly afterwards, we were ordered to return to the scene. Protesters on both sides—the Coalition and MDP—were hurling stones and verbal abuse at each other. We put the cordons back up.

I heard some vehicles arriving. I saw police officers screaming at everyone, the protesters, the MNDF, at everybody. They began running after MDP protesters.

“We will kill you all!” they were shouting.

We restored order, moved the media away. After thirty minutes, the police returned. They were singing patriotic songs. One officer approached me. He put his baton under my chin and let forth a string of profanities.

“You must withdraw to BK”, we were told fifteen minutes later.

“Clear the area. Get the media out. Remove everyone carrying iron rods from the scene,” Captain Amanullah ordered.

We arrived at Bandara Koshi in the early hours of the morning. About 40-50 SO officers, I am not sure exactly how many, were staging a sit-in at Republic Square. I dispatched squads to cordon off designated areas, MMA [Maldives Monetary Authority] and other spots.

Around 2:30 a.m., outside MNDF [Headquarters], I met General Shiyam. He stood watching the Republic Square.

“Why aren’t you giving orders to arrest them?” I asked.

“Go away!” he responded.

I had to ask. We had received intelligence of an intended police mutiny. After being at the Artificial Beach, I knew it was happening.

Half an hour later, all of us squad commanders received orders that no one—be it police or media—was to be allowed inside the cordons.

Some VTV or DhiTV journalists refused to leave. After an argument, we pushed them out.

“Let them in. And, let in the police once they show their ID card,” one officer,  [Major] Adil Rasheed said.

Every minute, five or six of them came in, filling up the cordoned off space. SO Officers were allowing gangsters inside the cordons, too. I saw Firusham allowing a few of them in at around 5:30.

We dispersed the crowd as far back as the Metro cafe’.

“Get the cordons inside and withdraw to HQ”, we were ordered at around 6:30.

“Why?” I asked Captain Amanullah and Major Adil. I always question orders that do not feel right to me.

“Mind your own business,” [First] Sergeant Amir Hussain said. I was told not to question orders.

“Get some sleep,” Lieutenant Colonel Fayaz told everyone once we were inside. All our armour was removed, my chest guard, everything except my shield. We had breakfast.

“The President wants to meet you,” we were told.

At the same moment, I heard police saying their Azum [pledge]. I heard screaming. And I heard the President shouting to us, “Go outside and arrest them!”

I, with about ten special forces personnel, went.

Those of us with shields were at the front, those without came behind. I was commanding from the front.

“Do not fire!” we were shouting. There were riot guns, rubber bullets, tear gas grenades.

“Do not fire until they fire!” I heard the police shouting. Each side waited to see what the other would do.

A gas canister flew towards the police.

It was fired from our side. I saw who threw it. It was Tholath, the Defence Minister.

“Do something!” he said. The canister landed. All hell broke loose.


Police charged. I ordered my men to do the same. I don’t recall how many canisters we threw. Stones, all sorts of things came at us. I was hit many times. I did not give up, I stayed until I was dragged in. I was the last person in.

I was not the main lead but one of several. There were sergeants, I was a staff sergeant. I saw my lead, Lieutenant Hamid Shafeeq only inside the HQ. He was the only person I heard issuing instructions. There was no plan, all orders were ad hoc.

When President Nasheed shouted at us to go out, all command and control was lost. Nobody took charge. I don’t think anybody even cared.

We went out when the President ordered us, but once we were outside, nobody gave us orders. The Ground Commanders, who were outside with us, should have commanded. They did not. About 3-4 minutes is enough time to analyse the situation and issue orders. There would have been enough time for a plan of attack. If the canister had not been thrown.

Around 9:30, I saw a large group of men gathered near the Communications Room. “Nasheed is a criminal. Do not obey unlawful orders,” I heard them say. I reported it to my senior.

“I will handle it,” he said.

“Collect all guns!” I heard a commander saying soon after. All weapons were taken away.

Outside, I could see Riyaz, Fayaz and Nazim. Shiyam, Fayaz (Papa) and were inside.

“Tell the president he has no choice but to resign!” I heard Fayaz say to Shiyam.

“I will”, Shiyam said. He had a weird smile on his face.

I was attending to some injured soldiers when I heard joyful shouting. [Mohamed] Nazim was being hoisted up by some football coaches.

Shiyam had let Nazim in, I know.

Nazim was in the forces before. I cannot remember now, but I think he was a Colonel. He was my instructor.

“This won’t go well,” I thought. I knew Shiyam was aware of what was happening. Once, while training with Shiyam, we had a conversation about an intended naval base.

“Where are you going to get the money for it?” I asked him.

“Gasim Ibrahim will give unlimited funds for the base. He will help MNDF grow,” he replied. The naval base is Shiyam’s dream project.

I don’t know what happened after Nazim went inside.

A rumour started soon that MDP was about to torch MNDF homes. Some people began to get worked up. They wanted to go outside. Shiyam and Zayed got them into a squad, and sent them out. There was nothing, no MDP people, no thugs.

It was past 11:30 then, and we heard Nasheed had resigned.


The next day, I returned at about 8:30 p.m. Nothing much was happening.

“If there is any rioting,” Papa told Shiyam, “Give me two minutes. I’ll have it all under control.”

I was in Bravo when I saw police charging the demonstrators.

“Why are they doing this?” I asked my senior [Lt. Col] Nasrullah. Even he did not know.

“Shut up,” Papa said to me.

I got a lot of flak and warnings for asking questions, for following President Nasheed’s orders. I took an oath to protect the country and the president; not to beat civilians or to mutiny. I did not take an oath to follow a mutinous general. I was never a big fan of Nasheed, but it did not matter to me who the President was that day. I would have done the same for any president.

In my view this was a coup. Why? I could see it from the way they handled everything, their attitude, how cool and calm all the officers were. I could tell from how cool General Shiyam was inside the MNDF. They did nothing. This is not how a uniformed officer should behave.

I really don’t know what [Moosa] Jaleel, Chief of Defence, was doing. He was walking around, smoking, as if in a trance, unaware of what was going on around him. I had admired Jaleel, but in that situation, his mind was somewhere else. General Nilam, too. Had I not pushed him to the ground inside MNDF, he would have been hit by bricks. I am not saying that he, too, was in a trance.

Perhaps they were in shock over the mutiny.

UPDATE: In communications with Dhivehi Sitee since the above post was published, Shafraz Naeem has said the CoNI transcript is inaccurate. Among the clarifications he would like to make are the following:

  • He arrived back at Bandara Koshi the following day [8 February] at 2:30 p.m., not 8:30 p.m. as recorded in the transcript.
  • He stated that he was not a fan of how President Nasheed handled the MNDF, not that he was ‘never a big fan of Nasheed.’
  • Parts of his conversation with General Shiyam about the naval base have been left out.
  • A heated exchange between Shafraz and Co-Chair, Ismail Shafeeu, on command and control–who was responsible for its loss and how it happened–has been omitted from the transcript.

20 thoughts on “Transcript: MNDF Staff Sergeant Shafraz Naeem’s CoNI account of Feb 7 mutiny”

  1. Hey this guy had not reported for work for two years and how come he was in charge of any operation.

    This is just a mere lie ! Ask any officer and they will say guy had not been reportage to work for a long period of time.

    Then again , you can see him participating in MDP gathering through out last 5 years also.

    He is doing his own business in the field of photography and designing .

  2. Maldives is totally a failed nation and it will soon become the next Afghanistan. So it is time to leave these crazy pigs alone.

  3. This Bloody operation was More Dangerous
    then 3/Nov/88
    Still the Nation in Hell.

  4. People like this guy give us hope that there are professionals in the security forces that take their oath seriously.

  5. This guy had given oath and never works in the MNDF for last three years? What is the oath he had given and what genuineness he has and what ethics he has ?

    This is nothing compared to what had happened on 3rd Nov. 18 people were killed and country was on verge of getting into hand of mercenaries .

    Feb. 8th was created by Nasheed and still the unrest is creating by Nasheed .

    Poeple like Shafraz does not given any hope and if all MNDF people start to his path and there will not be any one to report for work and all of them would be engaged in doing their personal business .

    This guy Shafraz is working in under water photography and design studio and he is not working MNDF.

  6. at This moment, i donno what and whom to beleive.. my justification is clear and simple.. all those police officers and constables who participated in that day's activities not only committed mutiny.. but also until this day, the 03rd of March 2013 were blind and deaf. there are nothing but disgusting. i wouldnt be able to catch one night sleep.. but they partied on mutiny cash.. right from gasim pocket

  7. Discrediting the former soldier does not take away from the facts contained in his testimony. His evidence is corroborated by what we the public saw on television, and what others have said in CoNI and elsewhere.

    Very few of us have had the guts to give two fingers to the Baaghees because it would cost us our careers. Shafraz Naeem did. He resigned from an institution he lost faith in. I admire him for that.

  8. Former president Nasheed was a victim of parties cronies such as Mariya, Afeef etc. Nasheed had to resign because his regime in the last few months so the most unconstitutional and most unethical behaviors ever seen openly in Maldives politics! Gayoom played the same poltics but he was more careful outwardly and managed the cronies around him, while Nasheed was seen promoting anti Islamic ideology which is even foreign to US or UK politicians! Nasheed should stoping crying and handover the power to some one more moderate within MDP other wise MDP will lose all what it has fought so far due to a dream of Nasheed of a ladheeni society!

  9. Nasheed was forced to resign because Qasim, Maumoon, Yaameen and Kaalhu Waheed joined hand to hand and approached a few dirty MNDF & SO Police officers to oust Nasheed by hook or crook. They had a plan and they did it as per plan

    Imran & Umar Naseer were their Qasims boys as they always lived and live from the money they get from Qasim

  10. I salute the soldier Shafraz. A soldier has to serve the nation and it's people . It is a responsibility to protect the government elected by the people. Thank you for what you tried and speaking the truth. The truth will prevail

  11. Shafraz has not done anything on this day and if he has done, we should have saluted him.

    He had not been reporting to duty for last two years. Please go and check the records. This entire statement is wrong since the guy had not been reporting to his work for two years.

    He is doing his own business now. If he has been doing his job , we could salute him.

    This statement is false or the Shafraz had lied to the CoNi.

    This is guy is running Photo studio and dive school and he is doing his own business and not working in MNDF as mentioned.

    Here what is happening is that if anyone speak of Feb. 7th in favor of Nasheed , whether it is right or wrong, MDP people will blindly say yes and anyone who speaks truth against Nasheed , no matter what he says it will be a lie.

    So if you have guts, go and ask the MDP supporters in MNDF or Police, and if they are wiling to tell the truth, they will also says Shafraz was not reporting to his duty for 2 years.

    Also you can check with his Friends , you would also know the truth.

    The article and comments here is the proof that this is a propaganda machine of Nasheed .

  12. Whatever Shafraz may be doing now, he is a soldier, first and foremost. One of the good ones, it looks like.

  13. hello huseynaa kaley thee gamaarehtha? Shafraz duty ga 6th feb night ga riot squad ga huttaa photo ves huri haveeruga. Buraanchaa kaaku dhenehuree Shafraz ge photo studio eh hunnakan? haadha hasadha eh thibaalanee. Anekkaa huseynu anhenun maa bodah Shafraz ge gadha vaahaka dhakkanee tha?

  14. This Hussain is the biggest liar that ever existed in the face of earth, Any one can chk from haveeru news that , shafraz was doing his duty on the 6th of February 2012. Even photos were there! And on the other hand Shafraz never had a photo studio. or design studio. Above all will CoNi accept Shafraz's report if he was a person who nvr reported to duty for more than two years or was not there on duty on the 6th n 7th Feb? Mr. Husen pls talk sense.

  15. We Maldivians Should be proud of soldiers like Shafraz Naeem. Mr. Hussain pls respect and keep your crap in your pocket!!! Salute Shafraz!!!

  16. From what I have read, what I have read from the past, what I have seen, Shafraz was there on the 6th, 7th. The question of him reporting to duty or not is not relevent at this circumstances, as HE WAS ON DUTY THAT VERY DAY WHEN IT ALL HAPPENED. I myself had a argument with Shafraznon the 8th regarding him blaming Tholhath. I couldn't believe what he was saying until after a few months when the puzzle made more sense.

    If you blame shafraz for having a business, (true or not ) what was FA and them doing building luxury yatchs and becoming tycoons while they werenin sevice? And there are so many people in the service of both POLICE & MNDF with their own businesses. Which is a failure of the actual monitoring system.

    MDP wasn't perfect yet the truth is it was a police and military mutiny and the truth is for 21 days the opposition called upon this and the question is WHY NOTHING WAS DONE ABOUT IT? It was a clear plot and it was a well planned coup from the begginig,

    for those of you who compare that day to NOV 3rd, 1988 shame on you for your ignorance. Then it was individuals not uniformed service men who have taken an oath to protect and serve the civilians. It was foreign men and few of us with arms, not Local business men,politicians and fired colonels or whatever the facy rankings they have. isn't it to to stop pointing the fingers and get this right? the nation has faced more bloodshed within 2012 than any year in our history.

  17. Well done Shafraz! This country needs more people like you.

  18. I salute Staff Segeant Shafraz because he's done the right thing. I have had the honour of serving with him and being trained by him during my time in MNDF. He is one of the few good ones. And there was never a dive instructor who is as qualified as him ever in MNDF. They lost a valuable soldier.

    Mr. Hussain, I don't know where you come up with your bullshit. You can ask any senior officer there from the start of the 23rd December protests where Shafraz was. He was attached as commander for Bravo riot squad. I saw him on countless nights during the protests.

    I have spoken with a lot of MNDF officers and other ranks regarding Shafraz's resignation after the coup and they all said that he did the right thing.

    As for him having a business while in MNDF, who doesn't? Most of the senior officers have their shares in resorts and safari's. And you Hussain are complaining cos Shafraz takes underwater photography and has a diving school? What's wrong with that?

    F, I met him 4 days after 7th February and he told me the same, that Tholhath threw the tear gas grenade and because of that everything went to hell. I even didn't believe him. But after what later happened with Tholhath I knew it was true.

    I sincerely hope that there are more good soldiers in MNDF like him.

  19. I was one of the few foreigners still in Male' when "all hell broke loose" and I can attest on my honour that my friend Shaff was INDEED on duty during those tense and dangerous days.

    He behaved like a TRUE soldier should, fighting for for his country & for its pple's freedom.

    I was constantly in touch with him on the phone and saw him on duty a few times, wearing his uniform and his riot gear...

    So please, keep you defamatory rants to yourself...

    You should be ashamed to try and disguise your vile selfishness by soiling the reputation of a true soldier, and a true hero.

    Then again, what else to expect pple who are vouching for a regime responsible for 30 years of dictatorship, gross embezzlement, and human rights abuses ?

    Fortunately, at the end of the day, only the truth matters, and the fact is this IS the truth.

    I am proud of my friend Shaff, proud of the soldier, and proud of his moral values...

    I Salute you, brother... Maldives are saluting you.

  20. Well done Staff Sgt. Shafraz! Salute you for your honesty and bravery! That is how a true, loyal MNDF or POLICE should work. To honor your country by serving be dutiful, Have ethics, moral. May Allh bless you and hope and pray your honesty will be rewarded.


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