Delhi police warned of potential threat to Obama from Maldivian nationals

Indian intelligence agencies have alerted Delhi police to potential attacks on US President Barack Obama by Maldivian or Sri Lankan nationals, reports the Hindustan Times.

The paper reported that “a close watch” is being kept on unidentified Sri Lankan and Maldivian nationals in India, as well as those whose visas have expired.

President Obama arrived in Delhi this morning to an unprecedented security operation which is reported to include 40,000 security personnel, 15,000 new security cameras, and door-to-door house checks.

As well as holding meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, Obama will become the first US President to be chief guest during tomorrow’s Republic Day parade.

It is during the parade that Indian security agencies have been warned Obama may be targetted by anti-american elements from Sri Lanka and Maldives, as well as drawing black flag protest from Hindu nationalist groups.

“Being a high valued target, a high degree of threat is perceived to Obama from radical Islamist outfits like Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” a senior Delhi police officer told the Hindustan Times.

Concerns about growing radicalism in the Maldives have grown over the past twelve months, with police confirming recently that over 50 Maldivians had travelled abroad for jihad.

The police do not yet know who the most vulnerable groups to radicalisation are in the Maldives, said Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed, pointing out recent jihadis included both genders, urban and rural areas, and people of all ages.

When asked if radicalised groups posed a domestic terrorist threat, Waheed said the police were tracking individuals associated with foreign militant groups.

“We know who the foreign militants are. We are monitoring their activities. My hope is, I believe we will be able to monitor them to the extent they are unable to [present a threat] in the Maldives.”

Last November, a jihadist group called Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) – which describes itself as ‘Maldivians in Syria’ – revealed that a fifth Maldivian had died in Syria.

BASM has claimed to be linked with the Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliate group in Syria and Iraq.