Gangs thriving amid political instability, political support: Guardian

Political turmoil in the Maldives is fueling gang violence and criminal impunity, reports the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

The gangs are thriving not only because of the drug trade, but due to political parties employing gang members to assault opponents, destroy property, and boost numbers at rallies.

“It’s been a good few months. We’ve been doing well,” one gang leader told Guardian journalist Jason Burke, revealing that the gang had been “providing political parties with muscle to intimidate opponents, swell meetings and provide security.”

“There’s so much demand, we’ve had to appoint someone just to run that side of our operations. Requests are coming in all the time,” the gang leader told the newspaper.

According to the Guardian’s report, “Ibrahim’s outfit of more than 70 members works around the clock, trafficking heroin, enforcing its territory and carrying out what he calls ‘political work’. Ibrahim asks for MVR 10,000 (US$650) for 10 of his gang members to attend a demonstration for an hour. The rate charged for roughing up a political opponent – damaging his car or house – is between MVR 25,000 and MVR 50,000 (US$1650-3250), but for a stabbing the price would be much higher: US$25,000 at least.

“It’s not bad, enough to pay our expenses for a month,” Ibrahim told the paper.

The newspaper noted that corruption meant that “police officers can easily be persuaded to ‘lose’ evidence and judges can be bought off. Nor is prison much of a deterrent. Phones, cigarettes, DVDs, ‘anything except women’ is easily available,” the gang leader informed the paper.

The Guardian’s article echoes the findings of a report into the Maldives’ gangs by the Asia Foundation, published last month, which revealed that politicians and businessmen are paying gangs tens of thousands of rufiya to assault rivals, damage property, and in some cases have them killed.

“Political and business elites exploit gangs to carry out a range of illegal activities that serve their political or business interests in exchange for financing the gangs,” stated the report, which collected data through 20 focus groups and 24 in-depth interviews with gang members.

Politicians are described as being involved in symbiotic relationships with gangs, who depend on the gangs to suppress opponents and carry out tasks to help maintain their popularity or to divert media attention from political issues.

“Politicians have asked us to cut the TVM cable for MVR 25,000 (US$1620), to light up a bus for MVR 10,000 (US$650). Also in the recent political riots we were involved in things like burning the garbage collection area,” said one gang member.

“We were given some amount of money, two of us and the 10 people who accompanied us were paid some amount, we had to set fire and run from the spot and be seen in another area. We got paid to do this by a political group. Sometimes in return for the work we do, we also get to party in their safari boats with girls and alcohol,” they added.

In other cases, gang members were paid MVR 20,000 (US$1230) to destroy shop windows. Interviewees also stated that being offered immunity from prosecution was normally part of this deal.

Leaders, who deal directly with the politicians, were reported as earning up to MVR 1 million (US$65,000) a month via such activities.

One member even described instances where murder contracts were handed out.

“We may be given a file with all the information about the person and be told and told we may be paid in millions to carry out the killing,” explained one member.

The gang leader who spoke to the Guardian said that he had made enough money and was now looking for a quieter life: “I’m not sure where I’ll go. Maybe [Sri] Lanka. Maybe India. Out of here anyway,” he told the paper.

“People around the world [need] to know how things are here. This is a paradise, but not everyone is an angel. Things have gone this far because of politics,” he said.


14 thoughts on “Gangs thriving amid political instability, political support: Guardian”

  1. We all know who started this gang stuff and its not Anni/Nasheed. No one dares finger this person but we all know who it is. This is typical mafiosi behaviour. The so called government is a shell. There is a vested interest here: once the level of violence is raised, then it somehow justifies a tougher clampdown. Pity that all the political parties want to collude in this game. But in the end the ones who will gain from this are the ones who want to use the maximum force. And the loss is the one time very Maldivian horror of killing, which distinguished us from our more bloodthirsty neighbors. There was a tsunami of violence on that infamous February 8th, it had been swelling in the lead up to the elections, but from February 8 on, nothing was the same again. Once we lose this respect for the sanctity of life and this horror of violence, a small society like ours is set for self destruction. Our population is so small we cannot afford this! So far lets hope we are talking mainly of Male. Perhaps the majority of Maldivians are still not so tainted. Perhaps the fact that we are so scattered about the place (although this is going to change) is our only hope of survival as humane human beings.

  2. What a mess?The dream of every young boy now will be : when I grow up I will be a gang leader!!!Why spend time and money on education when a gang leader earns MVR 1m monthly much much more than a hard working businessman or any qualified professional?Moreover some women now will be happy to become the wife of a gang leader as nowadays we see so many young girls attracted to these dirty fellows as long as they have a nice car/bike,wear brand new sunglasses and keep long hair!!!

  3. The crime and political violence one reads about in the Maldives is truly shocking. For a small nation you are big on crime and drug abuse. Heroin abuse is rife in muslim nations........Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan (your sunni brothers and role models!!) and in the Maldives there is the added problem with politically motivated crime........your young men are either rampaging through the streets to 'protect islam' or they are sticking a knife into somebody. This is what happens when you preach hate, violence and intolerance........what goes around comes around as they say.
    I would feel safer in a south african township at 2 am than in Male at midday.
    Oh this rate your utopian islamic caliphate will be a long time coming......dream on!!

  4. One solution to stop this!
    Everyone except the politician join gangs and demand the politician to pay us to kill them!

  5. Sigh, and the stupid godless fools still want to deny that Islam is the solution. Look at Saudi Arabia, are there any gangs or drugs are safe but....hehehehehhe, stupid fools will keep denying that we need sharia. Sigh.

  6. Maumoon a corrupt evil money laundering human rights abuser. Anni, our only hope for democracy and fairness.

  7. Do you not know the difference between right and wrong. The new dictatorship is the same as the old one.

  8. All most of the gangsters are operated by Gayoom, children and Gayooms brother Yameen.They have been giving heroin and cash as well for the operation.During 2008 election there was killings by the gang and still no police investigation carried.

  9. I can only assume that as Chinese tourist numbers are increasing every year, this kind of bad publicity never appears in any Chinese media.
    Maldivian resort staff should be taking lessons in Mandarin or Cantonese, and forgetting about English/German/Italian.

  10. The genuine shimy,

    See, this is how corrupt the Maldivian Muslims or the Maldivian unbelievers are today, commenting on somebodies name and then deluding people into misunderstanding that person.

    You fake shimy, you're really threatened of me because i speak of the truth. Otherwise, why are you faking yourself into being me!!!

    This only proves that Islam is the truth and not the people who pretends to be Muslims.(like most of them in the Maldives)

    You're pretty blown off because the report does not mention the so called Islamists of Maldives fueling gang violence, aren't you?

    and you are blown off because i talk truth about the prophet (PBUH)which so many of you refuse to believe!!And which so many of you try to slander so much???

    And each and everyday, people find science and the Quran coming in accordance with each other makes you puke, doesn't it???

    And each and every day, the way real Muslims refuse to believe your gibberish about homosexuality being genetic (in fact this satanic act is not even practiced in the animal world though some scientists tried to prove it because they were gay (check to confirm)makes your stomach boil, doesn't it ?

    And each and every day, the situation in Israel and Palestine makes you wonder, what will happen next?

    You wonder what is going on in the DUMB Muslim World? why are they in the center of attention everywhere? Why is war raging among themselves?

    Why are the west so against them? why do they fuel hatred towards us so much?Why do they rage war against the poorest of the poor(Afghanistan, east asia) and then destroy the richest of the rich? Iraq (claimed weapons of mass destruction and then promised peace but did it ever come ???)

    you wonder what is happening in Syria but we know what is happening and you'll see it very soon???

    Whatever you or the unbelievers(like Miss India here) or the Jews(see the history of Jews, the Rothschild,the USA and Israel, the one dollar note etc)claim us to be, we know what is happening in the world!

    It only proves our prophet spoke about the truth and his words meet everything that is happening around the world today!!

    What i know is that Allah has promised us and everyone of this world a day of justice which nobody, not even your super powers can bring us in this world?


  11. So take that fake Shimy! No matter how much you or miss India or the Roschtilds or they gay scientists try to slander our prophet (pbuh) and our faith (which only proves the truth of can you fools deny it?) will never win!


    ...eheheheheheheh LOL!


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