“The authorities arrived in a wave of terror”, says eyewitnesses of Anbaraa arrests

Physical abuse, verbal harassment, and the excessive use of weapons have been reported by some of those detained following the police raids on the Anbaraa music festival last weekend.

“They used a lot of weapons- stun grenades and tazers, pretty excessive force when you’re raiding,” a reliable source told Minivan News.

Other attendees suggested police had threatened both physical torture and sexual violence. All Maldivian nationals interviewed for this article chose to remain anonymous.

Festival attendee Brandon Ingram – a Sri Lankan national – described the authorities as arriving “in a wave of terror, shooting their guns and shouting their violence in Dhivehi.”

The two day music festival – attended by 198 people,  including international DJs – was raided by police at 12:00am on Saturday (April 19), with the aim of shutting down the event.

A total of 79 people were arrested from the uninhabited island in Vaavu atoll, 19 of whom have been released to house arrest, while the remaining are being held at the Dhoonidhoo detention facility.

“They shot flares and one of them [an eyewitness] told me stun grenades were shot in centre of dance floor. Stun grenades are meant for dispersing large crowds – they shouldn’t be shooting at people,” stated an authority investigating the case.

Ingram’s recently published testimony of the raid describes gunfire and lasers, associated with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Another person present at the festival alleged that, once they were handcuffed, police refused to give them water, had tightened the cuffs when they complained of swollen wrists, and refused to let them go to the toilet.

After a body search at around 1am, the police changed the cuffs to the front and the detainees fell asleep leaning on one another.

The tents and belongings were checked at around midday the following day, the source continued. The cuffs were only taken off after they had picked the 79 to be arrested – meaning they were handcuffed for 13 to 14 hours.

Verbal Abuse

In addition, many of the detainees have stated that police verbally threatened them. One attendee alleged that police told people, “if they didn’t calm down they would all be killed.”

“[Police] verbally abused all of them, harassed them, some of the girls – especially the girls – I heard a lot, one of them [police] said they were going to shove their batons up them.”

“One girl resisting arrest, they hit her from behind and manhandled her, another girl they pulled by the hair and shoved into the sand. It was mostly toward people who were resisting arrest,” stated a source who is investigating the arrests.

According to another eyewitness at the festival, while they were lying on the ground, one girl reportedly heard a policeman say, “why don’t we pour petrol on them and set them on fire, who’d know?”.

Additionally, Ingram recalled the “those authoritative looks of accomplishment and farcical displays of power.”

“They said to us, with conviction, ‘heroine, yea, that’s whatever… but alcohol and LSD, very dangerous.’ They pointed at the girls who were in shorts and tank tops and said: ‘these girls are naked in public, that is against law.'”

“They went on to say – ‘on resort anyone can do whatever they want, on normal island, you cannot.’ They also said – ‘Maldivian boys and girls want to have fun, they can go to other countries, other places, not here’.”

However, Ingram’s account claimed that the treatment by the police was not malevolent.

“They were not unkind to us – in fact they were almost as nice as our Maldivian friends,” he observed.

Drug tests

After the raid, police confirmed with the media that out of the 198 searched, the 79 arrested either tested positive for drugs, or had drugs in their possession.

Chief Inspector Abdulla Satheeh noted at a press briefing that the 79 persons taken into custody were arrested either with drugs in their possession or police suspected they were under the influence of drugs.

While the remaining 119 were released without charge, Satheeh revealed that none of them had been tested for drug use.

“The people who were let go were supposedly the people who they didn’t find anything on them. The urine test were taken much later,” confirmed a source investigating the arrests.

At the time of the arrests, the only tests the police carried out were a breathalyser test, with only two people testing positive for this, they continued.

Contrary to police reports, “they didn’t do urine tests for everyone,” revealed the source, adding that this was a key point that could stand in the detainees favour.

The Police Integrity Commission declined to comment on the events when contacted by Minivan News today, saying they were not yet investigating the case.


13 thoughts on ““The authorities arrived in a wave of terror”, says eyewitnesses of Anbaraa arrests”

  1. Police are the same in every country. Most are rejects that can't hack it at university or normal labor jobs either. End result, mindless drones that work for corrupt governments. They break all the same laws as "citizens" and then some, but get away with it because of the uniform. "Democracy" is beautiful!

  2. While I sympathise with the party goers, I never know whose story to believe.

    It all adds to the anti-police sentiment in the country.

    Brandon's ridiculously dramatic account sounds like the start of a crap novel: "I was afraid. For five whole seconds I was very afraid. They were, perhaps, the longest five seconds of my life – mostly because I didn’t expect to live beyond them."

    It's ending is just as hilarious, as despite everything our budding author had been through - the gunfire, the screams and the fear of being massacred by laser pistol wielding pirates - he still noted that he had a great time.

    "I was there, and I’m glad I was." - BRANDON INGRAM.


  3. Yeahh, heroine is ok, huh? But LSD is dangerous, right?

    Actually recent studies are showing that LSD is effective in treating alcohol and heroine addiction. But what would you MPS officers know about that? That require you to put down your batons and read an effing book.

  4. Yeap its very obvious that those in power really want the people in maldives to be f***ed up.. all they can offer is just heroin and redbull drinks (legal amphetamines) to screw their brains up. Yeah boys, dont try to be smart.. too smart will give us more trouble..take heroin and be a living zombie..

  5. Well, if you are stupid enough to pay for an event when you didn't even know where the event was, and then go there and smoke all sorts of sh*t, then you deserve what you get!

    Didn't these people for a minute think that this might be a setup and a trap? Man, some people don't have brains. Well, if it's full of dope then they can't think straight can they?

  6. @Rihakuru and Joospetty

    By dangerous, they mean "dangerous to their drug trading business".

  7. i don't believe in the information given by the anonymous persons because they are drug addicts & they will give false information to clear themselves & people will be pity on them and get the sympathy. give these criminals drug users at least 1 year in prison or more.

  8. Maldivian are humongously stupid.

    Nowhere in the article is it mentioned about what activities were going on in island before the cops arrived.

    Refer here; to MvYouth news article (The hidden side of the Anbaraa story)

    Where it is detailed by a participant about the activities going on in the island, people taking drugs, and people frolicking around while topless (for lack of a better word, because when you have two people a girl and a guy who love each other and theyre on an uninhabited island there is no reason to hold back right ?). Add to the fact that Heroin, LSD and other drugs were found by the police according to the article (OF COURSE, THIS HAD TO HAVE BEEN PLANTED BY THE COPS), this kind of conflicts with the eyewitnesss accounts in this reports trying to to prove that the participants in this trip were all saints.

  9. Consider these two statemenets:

    STATEMENT 1: An Ambaraa girl is saying : What the heck man ! I was just fooling around with my boyfriend in the bushes, while taking a CHILL PILL; when all of a sudden the cops invade the island, just throw flash grenades and arrest us ! What the heck man ! And they have the nerve to handcuff me before i finished doing whatever i started with my boyfriend, and the cops FORCE me to wear this silly sarong and awful T-shirt (becuz i wasnt wearing anything, hmph the nerve). Where are my rights ? and dude, where are my clothes ? i lost them two days ago.

    STATEMENT 2: A partey is saying: What the heck man ! I was just busy BORROWING some mobile phones, and some cash from the drawer from this guy who i know, at 3:am at midnight after having smashed the glass of the shop and broken in, and the cops just barge in and arrest me. What the heck man ! I was just borrowing this stuff from the owner i know. And the cops had the nerve of handcuffing me. what the heck man ! Where are my rights !

    And after listening to the account of the innocent girl, Maldivians are like "What the heck cops, what is their business interfering in what goes on between a girl and the other persons she's in love with !, Does it matter if she was taking a chill pill or naked ? Are'nt we all born naked into this world? huh ! HUH ! Why dont the cops just arrest all babies for being born nude. Different people take different things to relieve stress. Some people smoke, some people fool around with their girlfriends and some take a chillpill. Who are we to criticise one groups actions ?

    However after listening the parteys account of him breaking in, Maldivians are like: Dude, that guy was just stealing wasnt he ?

  10. The Police should have allowed the females to be properly dressed when they were taken to Court! I find the sight of them in half sarongs disrespectful towards Maldivian women and Maldivian Courts!

  11. Whatever said and done it's hard to feel sorry for these bratty kids. I have other less worthy people deserving of my pity 🙂

  12. With 2/3 of the teenage population addicted to drugs, youth unemployment at record high levels and school attendance at an all time low, arresting 79 people and detaining them for 10 days is not going to solve the bigger problem facing Maldives.

    I would much rather the Police arrest the partey's walking around like zombies in broad day light in Male'. Let's not start on the gangs that congregate the street corners as soon as night fall and the high crime rates. These people are much more of a public nuisance to me than 100 odd people doing drugs on an uninhabited island.

    I guess this really shows that we do have our priorities in check...were spending an enormous amount of time and resources frying small fish and conveniently forgetting about the big fish such as the drug dealers


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