Police have confiscated a stash of weapons believed to have used in gang violence under under a staircase in the home of Vice President of the Fiqh Academy, Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef.
According to local media reports, the weapons confiscated included a metal rod, a Kathivalhi (a traditional heavy duty knife used to chop trees), a wig and a face mask.
Speaking to Minivan News, a police media official confirmed that they had found weapons stored at a house in Male’ but would confirm if this belonged to Dr Latheef.
“No arrests or summons have been yet made. But we are currently investigating the case,” said the official.
Speaking to Haveeru, Latheef said the stash was discovered by a tenant who lived in the same residence at around 2:15pm.
“Once we saw those things, we contacted the police. Then the police called us back and requested everyone in the house not to touch them,” Latheef said.
Latheef also told Haveeru that despite the discovery of weapon stash at his own residence, he had not received any physical threats from anybody.
The discovery comes at a time where police have begun taking extra measures in curbing gang violence following four stabbing incidents within 48 hours. Police have said 11 suspects have been taken into custody with regard to the incidents.
In a statement released earlier, police claimed that the 11 individuals, all male suspects between 17 and 27 years of age, were detained on the 9th floor of the Aroodhaage building in Male’ as part of investigations.
The attacks prompted the police to form a special task force consisting of members from the Forensics Directorate, Intelligence and Covert Policing Command, Information and Communication Directorate, Central Operations Command and Technical Police from the Divisional Operations Command of the Maldives Police Service.
Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz said members of the task force were now searching for 50 “high-profile” suspects alleged to have had involvement with gang-related activities
“They are a threat to the society. We consider everyone, who had not been punished for a crime they had committed, as a criminal at large,” he told the local media.
The Commissioner of Police previously alleged that politicians were most often responsible for encouraging gang-related activities in the capital island Male’.
The claims echoed the findings of a report into the country’s gang culture published last year by the Asia Foundation that found politicians and businessmen paid gangs to assault rivals, damage property, and in some cases have opponents killed.
Minivan News was unable to contact Dr Latheef for comment at time of press.