A 13 year-old living on Gahdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll was last week sexually assaulted in an abandoned home on the island after being drugged and abducted, police have said.
Minivan News understands that the 13 year-old is not originally from Gahdhoo, but had been living with relatives at the time of the attack.
The attack, which occurred on December 26, is the third suspected case of sexual abuse of a minor to have been reported over the last week.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed today that two 16 year-old males and an 18 year-old man had been arrested on December 27 in connection with the alleged rape. However, he could not specify further details on the case as investigations were continuing.
The Maldives Police Service confirmed that the detention period of the suspects had also been extended from three to 15 days.
Details of the suspected attack were released the same day that police also publicised a picture of a man accused of molesting another 13 year-old girl in a separate incident in Male’ yesterday (December 30).
Police said that the incident occurred last night in the capital, identifying the suspect as Saeed Ahmed, 55. Authorities have requested the public share any information regarding Saeed’s whereabouts.
According to police, the suspect is accused of entering a house where the 13 year-old girl was staying at around 9:30pm before sexually assaulting her.
On Saturday (December 29), police said they had arrested a 33 year-old man on suspicion of the rape of a girl below 16 years of age in Vili-Male’.
The man identified as Mohamed Abdushukoor, 33, of Galolhu Red Coral, was accused of forcing the under-aged victim into a house in Vili-Male’ at about 1:00pm while she was out walking with her 14 year-old brother.
Police accused the suspect of keeping the pair in separate rooms as he sexually abused the girl. The incident was reported to the Police Family and Child Protection Unit.
According to an unpublished 2009 study on violence against minors, almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives have been sexually abused.
The same study claimed that sexual abuse rate of girls in the country was found to be almost twice as high than cases recorded against boys.
One in five Maldivian girls has been sexually abused – while the figure for boys was 11 percent. Female minors were particularly at risk in the capital Male’, the report found.
A 2007 study on Women’s Health and Life Experiences meanwhile found that one in three Maldivian women aged 15 to 49 experience either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, including childhood sexual abuse.
In recent years, local authorities and NGOs have released a number of findings highlighting the extent of child abuse and wider sexual assaults within society.
The state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s (IGMH’s) Family Protection Unit reported in 2010 that the centre was notified of 42 cases of rape between 2005-2010. Most of these cases were found to involve minors.
According to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, 13 rape cases were reported last year alone, the majority of which most were gang rapes or assaults involving minors.