Police have arrested a third female in connection with the prematurely abandoned baby found inside a Coast Milk Tin in Villingili last week.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that the arrest was made.
‘’She’s an 18 year-old female,’’ said Shiyam, adding that investigation was ongoing.
Shiyam said the six month premature baby was discovered after police were informed about the incident.
Yesterday, Deputy Head of police Serious and Organised Crime Department Inspector Abdulla Nawaz told the press that police had arrested a 30 year old woman from Noonu Atoll who was the suspected mother of the baby, and a 24 year old woman from Kaafu Atoll who was alleged to have assisted her deliver the baby prematurely.
Nawaz identified the suspected mother as Aiminath Shaira, 30 of Manadhoo in Noonu Atoll and the 24 year-old woman who allegedly assisted with the abortion the baby as Fathmath Aniya of Hura in Kaafu Atoll.
According to Nawaz, both women live in Male’ in the same house.
Nawaz told media that Shaira had confessed giving birth three days ago but was unable to tell police where the baby was, and that Aniya had confessed to assisting Shaira deliver the baby.
Meanwhile, islanders on Manadhoo told Minivan News they felt “deep shame” as news of the incident circulated.
‘’The island of Manadhoo has a very low profile in crime and it has remained like that for ages, until we heard that an islander of our island has given birth to an illegal child and thrown the baby away,’’ said an islander.
Shaira was a dancer, he claimed.
‘’Others arrested in connection with this case are not related to our island, we hear that they are members of her dance group,’’ he added. ‘’It’s the first time something like this happened concerning our island, we are all in deep shame, especially because people notice this island as an island that maintains a low crime rate compared to all other islands in this atoll.’’
Having a child out of wedlock remains heavily stigmatised in the Maldives. Previous studies conducted in the country by groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) have anecdotally pointed to high rates of illegal abortion, while other studies on HIV risk factors have pointed to high levels of promiscuity and limited use of contraceptives.