No fresh terror fears after Male’ bombing arrest, says President’s Office

The government has said it will not amend national security measures after police last week arrested a Maldivian man suspected of involvement in a bomb attack in Male’s Sultan Park back in 2007 upon his return to the country.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that Maldivian national Iqbal Mohamed had been arrested on arrival at Male’ International Airport from Pakistan, after authorities had been alerted of his movements by the International Police Organisation Interpol.

However, the President’s Office claimed that the arrest did not impact current security practices in relation to possible wider terrorist threats in the country.

The arrest was made in connection with a homemade bomb attack in Male’ in 2007, where a device built from components such as a gas cylinder, a washing machine motor and a mobile phone exploded injuring 12 tourists – several seriously.

Shiyam told Minivan News today that although Iqbal Mohamed was believed to have been in Pakistan at the time of the bombing, he had been wanted by police as part of their ongoing investigations into the 2007 attack due to an alleged role in the plan.

“He [Mohamed] is in custody right now,” added Shiyam, who claimed the Maldives Police Service was now waiting for the Prosecutor General to present a case against the suspect ahead of any potential trial in the Maldives.

“We really don’t why has had travelled back to the Maldives, but we have now arrested him.”

Mohamed, who is the subject of a red notice issued by Interpol, drew police attention after Interpol’s Major Events Support Team (IMEST), currently operating in Sri Lanka during the Cricket World Cup, identified the suspect as he was traveling through the country back to the Maldives.

According to Interpol, red notices are a system used to keep the 188 nations that make up its members informed of arrest warrants issued by judicial authorities. Although the notices are not formal arrest warrants, the organisation said that they are used to identify individuals wanted for crimes under a national jurisdiction.

Security focus

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that he did not believe Iqbal’s return raised concerns about further potential attacks in the country.

He claimed that the country’s National Security Advisor had recently addressed the issue of religious fundamentalists after a request from the country’s Immigration Commissioner and found no additional concerns.

Zuhair added that the advisor had concluded that there was not thought to be any terror cells operating within the Maldives and claimed there was no need to further heighten national security against such threats.

The press secretary claimed that rather than facing possible arrest in a foreign country, Iqbal had perhaps returned to face more lenient sentencing that he claimed would be offered by the Maldives’ legal system.

After the attacks took place, 10 Maldivians and two foreigners were arrested in connection with the case. By December 2007, three men confessed to having roles in the bombing in court and were sentenced to 15 years prison.

According to the Attorney General’s office at the time, sixteen men had been charged under the terrorism act in relation to the Sultan Park bombing, including ten fugitives believed to be in Pakistan.

In August last year, the government had announced that it would commute the sentences of two of the three convicted terrorists found guilty of being responsible for the bombings under the Clemency Act.

The two men had their sentences changed from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under strict observation.

By comparison, Zuhair pointed to the case of nine Maldivian nationals that were arrested back in 2009 after allegedly being found carrying weapons near the Pakistani-Afghan border, who were facing strict punishments for their alleged offences.

Last April, as the Maldives and India was working on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding joint counter-terrorism measures, press reports in the country began surfacing claiming that concerns had grown over the likelihood that groups like Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba may have a foothold in the country.

The claims have not been officially confirmed and no serious attacks have occurred since the 2007 bombing.

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12 thoughts on “No fresh terror fears after Male’ bombing arrest, says President’s Office”

  1. Iqbal has returned to the country after training in Pakistan. I am alarmed by the complacency of the authorities!

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  2. There are two things the ordinary Maldivian would deny.

    1. That global warming would mean that Maldives might be gone in the future.

    2. That there are terrorists and terrorist cells operating inside the country.

    So, it's no big deal when top government officials say there is no real "threat". Just go around to some mosques in Male', and check out the occasional gathering by a certain "group" of people at the mosques. All the talk about Jihad, all the talk about suicide bombing and politics in the Middle East. Maybe government officials like Zuhair should start visiting mosques more often?

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  3. Mr Neil its not a bomb its called a Homed made explosive device there is a difference, would appreciate if you would be more responsible in writing these things

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  4. iqbal, why did you come to maldives. why dont you stay in pakistan. you are needed there to fight your enemies. our society needs religious imams who can guide people to a righteous path without harming others. we dont have room for people like you! anyone who can set off a bomb and risk harm to children and innocent people is no brother of mine. get out and STAY OUT!!!

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  5. All those involved are free on the streets now. They have been pardoned. Yhis man will too. So its ok fro anyone in this counry to do anything. They will get away. lanka and india people do not smoke in public areas but in maldives people can spit and smoke to ur face. nothing happens. if u report u get the punishment. This is a haven for criminals. Its high time govt. start thinking of bulding jails for the good people of this country and let all criminals roam on the streets.

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  6. That bombing incident was engineered and planned very well by Gayoom and his cronies to get attention of "new world order group"! The victim was some bare teenagers who was brainwashed!! All governments play this game!

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  7. I think people are truly sick of these mullahs slowly driving maldivian culture to extinction. long gone are the days when people enjoyed music and dancing. I recently watched a dandanaa band show in Addu in the 90's, the whole crowd was loving it, jumping and dancing. in 15 years all this has changed, the watchful eyes of these hypocrites quell any resistance for fear of being branded a religion traitor. enough is enough!!
    people, dont be afraid to voice your opinion, the human brain is designed to doubt and question, there are enough of us who believe, we only need to band together!!

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  8. I too agree that there is logically speaking no danger to the Maldives population from any home made explosives. Current Governmnet has not oppressed Muslims from freely worshipping in the Masjid and living peacefully without the fear of being arrested just for being religious. I too dont understand why the incident was called a bomb when it does not match the definition of a bomb.

    Maldives might have new problems, but inshallah something like that will never happen in Maldives anymore. As the ex-prime minister of Malaysia (Mahathir) said in an CNN interview. The only reason those people attacked the world trade centers in New York was because they were being cornered without any ability to have a fair fight. So desperate circumstances caused by western oppression led to the attack. He might have been dirty when it comes to somethings, but he was one leader in Asia that was not afraid to speak the truth against the US. I can't imagine the Maldives government speak against the US. Or cant actually even recall once if they did.

    Also maybe Minivan can ask the Interpol about their arrests of opposition and journalists in Malaysia under the label of fighting terrorism, eventhough the ones that raided our family house in Malaysia told us that they knew we had not done anything wrong and that they were just following orders from the top.

    Interpol is just another tool which those in power can use to spy on opposition figures in different countries. Hey, just say "I'm looking for a terrorist". That should always work. Maybe give a wink 😉 while at it.

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  9. Dr Mahathir is no expert in fundamentalism and extremism. The ideology of Jihad has nothing to do with depriving of a 'fair fight'. The problem with us Muslims is that we like to play the victim card always. Why have we become victims when we used to be a powerful force in the world? If Western countries had got the upper hand in everything in the world, the fault lies with us Muslims. Instead of feeling victimized we should strive to achieve greater things. But that cannot be because Muslims are fighting among themselves. Shia and Sunni are at each others throats. Muslim states are governed by corrupt people. These so called Salaafi people want to take Muslims to the time of Prophet Muhammad.

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  10. I've been in and out the Maldives many times and it seems that the few that have posted here are a naive as ever. There actually is a problem in the Maldives. There are factions/groups/cells of individuals there that don't care about the lives of the Maldivian people or the tourists that visit. For the government to pardon hard-line criminals is simply ridiculous.

    The Maldivian culture is slowly being erased and replaced by a more radical state of living. It begins with a small fraction of the population and spreads like cancer throughout the country. It will not be long until the majority of the women are dressed in full burka out of fear instead of being the free spirits they have been in the past. It's time for the people, women and men of the Maldives to fight for their born-with freedoms of a simple human being. We need to influence others and the government to do the right thing. Get proper laws in place to fight against terrorism instead attracting it due to our lax laws.

    Ramzee... you're an idiot. Making a mountain out of a mole hill?? LOL, what a tool you are. It's funny that you take the threat of your life and the lives of your family members and fellow countrymen so lightly! You could have been the one walking past the explosion that day. Too bad you weren't. Maybe you would see things a bit differently!

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  11. "The two men had their sentences changed from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under strict observation."

    That guy who blew himself up killing hundreds of people (jalel?) was also "under strict observation". we dont trust you guys with terrorists anymore.

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