Palm trees used by MDP to curse President Yameen, alleges senior government official

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) were using areca palm trees planted in Malé by the city council for black magic to curse President Abdulla Yameen with ill health, an anonymous senior government official has alleged.

“The palm trees were planted with black magic,” the unnamed official told newspaper Haveeru today, claiming that the sorcery or black magic was the reason for the main opposition party’s concern and preoccupation with the felling of the trees in the early hours of October 24.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed alleged that masked Specialist Operations (SO) police officers in plainclothes chopped down the palm trees with machetes.

Patrolling police officers from the Maafanu police station arrested two of the perpetrators, Nasheed told the press on Tuesday (October 28), claiming that the suspects were handed over to the SO on the orders of a senior official from the SO command.

The pair were taken to the police Iskandhar Koshi barracks on an SO vehicle, he claimed.

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed held a press conference yesterday and denied police involvement in the incident, dismissing the opposition leader’s allegations as “baseless”.

Haveeru meanwhile claimed to have learned that the palm trees were cut down because senior government officials believed the MDP was using the trees to practice black magic.

The local daily claimed that senior members of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) believe that the trees were planted for use in black magic or sorcery, noting that several areca palm trees were uprooted during anti-government protests in January 2012.

The MDP-dominated city council planted the palm trees – donated by the Indian High Commission – in October 2011 as part of efforts to make the capital greener.

President’s health

Haveeru also referred to rumours of President Yameen undergoing brain surgery in Singapore to remove a tumour following his most recent unofficial trip to the country.

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz had dismissed the rumours as false and assured that the president and first lady were in good health, after MDP leader Nasheed had questioned Yameen’s absence from the country.

A close associate of President Yameen told the newspaper that the president did not seek treatment for a brain tumour.

Instead, the associate claimed, the president sought treatment for infections caught during his Hajj pilgrimage and had to be admitted at a Singapore hospital.

The anonymous government official said the president’s close associates believe that black magic or sorcery using the palm trees were responsible for the president’s ill health.

The associates advised President Yameen that the palm trees were the cause of his health problems, the senior official said.

“[They] believe that [President Yameen’s] health worsens with every palm frond that falls off the areca palm trees. And that his health would worsen further with every tree that blossoms,” the anonymous official was quoted as saying.

The official further claimed that the housing ministry had sent a letter to the home ministry requesting the trees be taken down.

“Those who [chopped down the trees] did it because the home ministry wouldn’t,” the president’s close associate told the local daily.

“This has to be done for the sake of national security as well. That is the palm trees can be taken down when the head of state’s life is in danger,” he was quoted as saying.

“President Yameen got relief when the palm trees were cut down. And the black magic is being exposed by the MDP’s actions, isn’t it? Less than 24 hours after the palm trees were cut down, [MDP MP Reeko] Moosa [Manik] announced he would contest in the [MDP’s presidential] primary.”

Allegations supported

Police officers have also told Haveeru on condition of anonymity that former President Nasheed’s allegations were true.

“We were on duty that night. The police command said masked men were cutting down the trees,” a police officer claimed.

A second police source alleged that the two or three groups of officers from the SO SWAT who cut down the trees were wearing SO balaclavas or masks.

“The Maafanu police caught two groups. They caught one on Lily Magu and he fell when they struck him on the back,” the police source alleged.

Credible sources have corroborated the claims to Minivan News, revealing that the incident has caused a rift between the SO and capital police commands.

In May 2012, police raided the MDP’s Usfasgadu protest camp over “suspected black magic performed in the area.”

The search warrant obtained from the Criminal Court alleged that on May 25 “MDP protesters threw a cursed rooster at MNDF officers.”

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Busting black magic on Guraidhoo

Aishath Moomina, a janitress at Kaafu Atoll Guraidhoo Island School, was attending to her usual early morning sweeping duties on September 3, when she found a kihaa (young coconut) with Arabic inscriptions buried outside the school gates.

Only a few days remained for the first round of presidential polls and ballot booths were to be set up at the school. That very same day, Moomina started to feel uncharacteristically tired and her skin started to burn.

“That’s when I knew it was black magic. This [black magic] happens every time there is an election,” she told Minivan News.

Guraidhoo, located 30 kilometers south of Malé and home to the country’s only home for people with special needs, is now at the centre of an election-related fanditha or black magic controversy. Since the discovery of the kihaa, various items with Qura’nic verses have been found in Guraidhoo School and throughout the island.

As a run-off election scheduled between the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) approaches on September 28, “cursed objects” have popped up in Fuvahmulah, Hithadhoo, Kudahuvadhoo and Velidhoo Islands.

Though the first round of polls went well, Moomina said that several students have had fainting spells, seizures, and have started to exhibit symptoms such as incoherent muttering, fainting, uncontrollable crying and tiredness.

On Sunday (September 22), Minivan News went to Guraidhoo Island to speak to residents on fanditha’s effect on the vote, finding a wide-spread deep belief in the supernatural, which combined with a tense presidential poll, has increased paranoia within the community.

This has spurred a group of men to actively patrol the two schools where polling booths will be placed and conduct a drive to undo the effects of fanditha.

Vote madness

The intense rivalry between political parties is evident on Guraidhoo’s narrow streets. The MDP’s yellow, the PPM’s pink and Jumhooree Party’s red flags fight for space, while political party campaign offices blast campaign songs at ear-drum shattering volume. Many islanders spoke of family members falling out and long-time neighbors refusing to speak to one another due to differences in political ideologies.

“There is a lot of turmoil in the island. People have gone mad for the vote,” said Faristha, a 47-year-old woman who discovered three Qurans buried in the lagoon. She believes the three Qurans buried in Guraidhoo’s lagoons are powerful black magic, as tradition dictates that the Quran only be disposed of in the open ocean or fast-flowing rivers.

“Black magic exists. If you believe in Allah and the prophet, then you must believe in djinns and black magic. The Quran says they exist. No man in their sane mind would throw away the Qurans like that,” she said waving her arms in anger.

Black magic is a crime punishable by death under the Islamic Shariah. While there are no legal sanctions or penalties against black magic in the written laws and regulations, the Maldives Police Services had arrested MDP activists and raided MDP protest camps on suspicion of black magic following the controversial transfer of power of February 2012.

With the proliferation of cursed objects, the Islamic Ministry released a sermon on Friday proclaiming black magic to be among the most evil of sins.

Black magic busters

Hassan Shuzeym, 35, is an artist, a caretaker at Guraidhoo’s Home for People with Special Needs, and now leader of the drive to undo black magic. Sitting at one of Guraidhoo’s newly opened guesthouses, the slim, dark-skinned Shuzeym told us how he organizes a 20-man patrol from dusk til dawn in order to ensure cursed objects are no longer buried at the schools.

A culture of performing black magic to coerce love or for personal gain had always existed on the island, Shuzeym told us over cigarettes and coffee. But black magic to influence votes on a large scale was new, he said.

“This magic is being done to change people’s hearts about their votes. But it’s only affecting the students who study at the school. We want to minimize the harm caused to people from the black magic.”

Shuzeym and his friends dig up objects and perform counter spells to cancel out their magic.

“In places where it is too dangerous to dig them out, we read surahs (chapters) of the Quran and sprinkle water on the area to cancel out their powers,” he said.

When asked how they knew where to look for cursed objects, Shuzeym told us with a mysterious look, “I can only tell you it is not with the help of humans.”

With their black-magic busting work, patrolling and observation teams, Shuzeym is confident the vote would be safe from all external influences.

As we left the guesthouse, we encountered a young MDP supporter who stopped us. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the young man told us he and his friends had performed one of the “black magic acts” that had created a furor in the island.

“I think the coconut is a fake, I believe black magic exists, but that coconut didn’t look real. I think it is by those who oppose us to intimidate us, so we spilled lots of water around all the entrances around both schools, just for a joke. We did not think anyone would take us seriously,” he said.

However, upon discovering water at the entrances, the janitors at Guraidhoo School stopped all students from entering the school premises until the school’s headmaster arrived and permitted them to do so.

“In the end, even if the coconut is fake, it has only been positive. We have more security for the vote,” the young man added.

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Police investigating suspected black magic coconuts in mosque wells

‘Fanditha’ (‘magic’) coconuts were found yesterday (September 23) in the wells of three different mosques on Kudahuvadhoo Island in Dhaal Atoll.

Police are investigating the suspected black magic coconuts, which had Arabic script on the husks, according to local media.

Meanwhile, a fanditha ‘kurumba’ (‘young coconut’) with two figures drawn on the husk was thrown into the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP)’s meeting hall on Kulhudhoofushi Island in Haa Dhaal Atoll, reports local media.

The coconut was thrown into the premises after the security guard had fallen asleep, senior AP activist Mohamed Moosa told local media.

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Black magic coconut discovered at PPM MP’s home

A black magic coconut was discovered at the home of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof, reports local media.

The ‘kurumba’ (young coconut) had a human figure drawn on it with a nail driven into the figure’s head and was discovered around 1:00pm Wednesday, according to local media.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) is investigating the matter, but have not commented on the case, reported CNM.

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Police conduct witch hunt on Thakandhoo after children allegedly possessed by evil spirits

Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer

A police team have been searching for black magic practitioners on Thakandhoo Island in Haa Alif Atoll after some islanders “purposefully” contacted the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and claimed Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters were responsible for the possession of four local children by evil spirits, according to an island council source.

The police arrived on the island around 10:00am yesterday morning and started inspecting houses. Their search is based on information police intelligence received, Thakandhoo Island Council Vice President Ibrahim Shaheed told local media.

The police team is inspecting individual houses under a court warrant, a police media official told Sun Online.

Four children from the same family began behaving strangely earlier this week, prompting islanders to call in ‘fanditha’ (magic) men who practice ‘ruqyah’ (Islamic exorcism) from the nearby island of Ihavandhoo, a Thakandhoo island council source told Minivan News today (September 12).

The MPS was called to investigate the black magic case after some of the islanders perceived the incident to be politically motivated, the island council source explained.

“Some of the islanders purposefully sent police officers to homes of MDP supporters on the island,” said the island council source. “The police came and gave them each documents that said their houses had to be searched regarding reports police intelligence received.”

“The documents also noted that police officers were unable to find anything related to the matter after searching their houses,’’ he added.

The Thakandhoo Island Council “wishes to get rid of this black magic issue forever and has asked the fanditha men to determine exactly who is responsible [for contacting the police],” the source noted.

Because the four children living in the same house on the island were believed to be possessed by evil spirits the islanders brought fanditha men to the island on Tuesday (September 10), and they immediately started reciting ‘maithiri’ (Quranic verses recited to end spiritual possession).

“When the recitation of maithiri started three days ago the kids situation got worse,’’ the island council source said. “But we were told by the fanditha men that it will be like that until the seventh day.”

The fanditha men also determined the general location of the buried black magic items and asked people to dig in the area.

They discovered the black magic objects buried in front of a gate located inside the Thakandhoo Island School, which leads to the playground outside school grounds.

‘’When we dug up the area we found these objects and now we have thrown them away,’’ said the island council source.

The black magic objects were reported to be clay tablets by local media.

Last night the island council met with the community to talk about this issue as people were feeling “scared and uncomfortable”, he added.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at time of press, however a police media official told Minivan News that the MPS was not revealing any information about the case as the investigation was ongoing.

Possessed children

“The police arrived yesterday and have been checking houses for black magic books, writing, or a witch – anything suspicious,” a Thakandhoo island resident told Minivan News.

“They checked three or four homes and are still here today, but are supposed to be leaving in the evening,” she added. “So far no one has been arrested, but they have taken some books into their possession.”

A 14 year-old girl, and boys aged 12,10, and nine – none of whom have had any previous behavioral problems – have been behaving very erratically and are difficult to control, the source explained.

“I’m not a believer [in black magic], I never have been, but it’s happening. And it’s so weird to see happening,” she said.

“It just started suddenly. The children began speaking and behaving in a very strange way. Their outbursts happen randomly – any time of day for the girl, but with the boys it happens mostly in the evenings,” she continued.

“The girl has been seeing black shadows, acting weird, complaining of ‘frozen’ hands and teeth, and saying strange things, ‘I’m going to kill you and somebody’s coming,’ and has fainted,” she explained. “She was admitted to the island’s health centre screaming uncontrollably not to remove the [clay] stones because it would kill her, and not to kill her.”

“[Additionally,] the 10 year-old boy has been continuously running super fast all over the island trying to get into the school and he also fainted,” she continued.

During the community meeting last night islanders had an opportunity to voice their concerns and were also instructed about how to be safe and what precautions to take against black magic, the island source noted.

“Everybody’s worried about the children and they’re concerned because there hasn’t been a black magic incident here for a long time, not since my grandmother was a child,” she said.

“We were advised to recite the Quran and for children not to go out after 6:00pm or go to isolated places unsupervised,” she added.

According to the source the island school has remained open, but some parents have not been sending their children to class for the past two days.

This prompted the school principal to tell parents attending the community meeting that “they should be sending their children to school because if we [islanders] don’t go out [of our homes] it will be more of a risk,” said the island source.

“People are not openly saying much about it because that will put them in danger as well,” she added.

In addition to reciting verses from the Quran, blessed water can also be used to conduct an exorcism, Spiritual Healers of the Maldives President and Exorcist, Ajnaadh Ali, explained Minivan News today.

He noted that the minimum period of treatment for those afflicted by black magic is seven days, but it can take up to one or two months depending on the case.

Thakandhoo islanders contacted the Spiritual Healers of the Maldives to assist with healing the possessed children, however because they are currently “taking treatment themselves”, the organisation has decided to conduct workshops on the island at a later date, added Ali.

Politics and black magic

This is the third island in two weeks to have reported black magic incidents related to political party rivalries.

Police were summoned to investigate an alleged black magic doll after it was discovered at the Shaviyani Atoll School polling station on Kanditheemu Island during the presidential election vote counting.

Coconuts with black magic spells were allegedly being used to sway voters’ political party allegiance and incite confrontations between MDP supporters and police on Fuvahmulah, ahead of the Presidential Election’s first round held September 7.

Additionally, police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station.

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Cursed coconuts on Fuvahmulah allegedly used to disrupt elections

Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer

Coconuts with black magic spells are allegedly being used to sway voters’ political party allegiance and incite confrontations between Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters and police on Fuvahmulah, ahead of Saturday’s Presidential Election.

A ‘kurumba’ (young coconut) suspected to have a ‘fanditha’ (black magic) curse, with Arabic writing and suspicious symbols burned into the husk, was found in the garden of a home located in Fuvahmulah’s Dhiguvaadu ward yesterday (September 4), a source from Dhiguvaadu ward told Minivan News today.

The woman who found the suspicious coconut in the early hours of the morning intended to inform the police, however the homeowners – “hard core” Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) supporters – told her not to do anything until an expert investigated the coconut first, said the source.

“Neighbors supporting President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party (GIP) live in the area, so they heard about the fanditha coconut and wanted to create problems, so they contacted the police,” the source continued.

“MDP and PPM have been running strong campaigns and have many supporters in the area, however GIP only has about 15 members,” the source noted.

“Since GIP has very few supporters, they are trying to redirect attention away from the other political parties to gain votes,” alleged the source. “GIP has told PPM that MDP planted the fanditha coconut, however they are telling MDP that PPM is responsible.”

“Neighbors a few houses away were awake around 3:00am that night and did not notice any suspicious activity,” said the source.

The source believes that GIP, PPM and Jumhoree Party (JP) supporters are trying incite unrest among MDP activists on Fuvahmulah – especially GIP by involving the police in the fanditha coconut incident.

MDP supporters on Fuvahmulah remain very upset about the violent police crackdown that happened after the controversial transition of power in February 2012, according to the source.

“When MDP activists see local police they are not good with them, they do not keep calm, there is always a huge scene, shouting, etc.,” the source explained.

“[However,] these days MDP [Island] Councilors are trying to the max to keep supporters calm,” the source continued.

“And the situation is very calm right now. It [the fanditha coconut incident] was nothing huge, just a very simple thing,” the source said. “There won’t be any impact on voting.”

Fuvahmulah police did not want to get involved in the black magic incident, instead they preferred to allow the family to take action independently, a police source told Minivan News today.

“If we get involved, it will turn into a big thing,” said the police source, in reference to inciting unrest among MDP supporters.

However, local media reported that police took possession of the black magic coconut.

The Maldives Police Service was not responding to calls at time of press.

Black magic sabotage

A black magic practitioner from Fuvahmulah allegedly cast spells on five yellow young coconuts – kurumba can also be green or orange – and gave them to another man to deliver to a specific key location, a Fuvahmulah island council source told Minivan News today.

The island council source alleged a person named *Easa cast a spell on five coconuts and gave them to *Moosa to deliver. However, Moosa left the coconuts on his bed covered with a sheet before going to work.

“Moosa’s wife was not told about the cursed coconuts, so she was shocked to find coconuts on their bed and called the police immediately,” said the island council source. “The police went over to the house and took the coconuts.”

“She thought MDP had cast the black magic spells because the coconuts were yellow,’’ the island council source explained. “Once Moosa found out what his wife had done, he told her it was very bad that she had reported it to police.’’

Moosa and his wife then went to get the cursed coconuts back from the police, but police refused to return them, according to the island council source.

The island council source noted that Easa made a typographical error when cursing the coconuts. The coconut curse says to “get rid of [PPM presidential candidate Abdulla] Yameen”, but was supposed to read “get benefits from Yameen”.

Furthermore, during the 2008 presidential election Easa also started practicing black magic a month before the election day, noted the island council source.

“Every day after dawn prayer he went to the beach and did black magic stuff. He also went near the polling station and threw cursed objects at people,’’ said the island council source. “[But] Easa’s spells did not work the last time.”

“This hasn’t been taken too seriously by the islanders, but the MDP supporters are very concerned,’’ the island council source said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case, the source added.

Earlier this week, police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station in Kaafu Atoll.

*Names have been changed

Spiritual healing

This is the second cursed coconut incident reported in as many days, related to the presidential election. To better understand this “very common practice”, Minivan News spoke with Spiritual Healers of the Maldives President and Exorcist, Ajnaadh Ali.

“During elections black magic is used to gain votes and make people ill,” explained Ali.

Ali suspects a spell was read over the Fuvahmulah fanditha coconut instead of inscribed, because the coconut reads “May Allah protect us from Abdulla Yameen”.

The black magic spell cast to influence voting “is a spell of separation. It’s the same idea as a love spell. It can either bring people together or split them apart,” Ali noted. “The black magic will attack them mentally, by demanding the individual think a certain way even if they would normally know something is bad. It makes them blind in the mind.”

“While any object can be used, because coconuts represent a life structure (like eggs) they use those objects to make the spell powerful, with the advice of the devil,” noted Ali.

“There is a long history of the practice in the Maldives, but it is still very common nowadays on every island,” he continued. “There is a lack of knowledge regarding the religion. Some people who do black magic think it’s right because the Quran is used.”

“In Dhivehi, fanditha means magic – black or white – but the way it is practiced is what makes it good or bad. Black magic is when people worship or invoke jins or devils to cause harm to others,” Ali explained.

“Black magic is practiced by misusing the Quran, chanting or writing verses and the names of devils or jins (spirits) to summon their help. It cannot be done unless someone has some disbelief of Allah,” he continued. “It it also disrespectful of the Quran.”

The best protection against black magic is reading Quranic verses, particularly the last two chapters of the Quran, said Ali. ‘Ruqyah’ is a form of white magic, specifically an Islamic exorcism where Quranic verses are read and prayers recited to heal.”

“Ruqyah will neutralise black magic to rid of the evil eye or any other spiritual matter, like jin possessions or mental illness,” he explained.

It can also be conducted for the benefit of worshipping Allah, he added.

“Any Muslim can practice ruqyah by themselves, however its more effective if they have knowledge of jins and the Quran. Also, they must be following the religion,” he noted.

The five pillars of Islam are prayer, fasting, alms for the poor, pilgrimage to Mecca, and declaring belief in one God, Allah.

A 1979 law requires persons wishing to practice fanditha to “write and seek approval from the Ministry of Health.”

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Police summon white magic practitioner to investigate possible cursed coconut

Police summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo Island presidential election polling station in Kaafu Atoll.

Police told local media they took the coconut into their possession around 7:05am yesterday (September 3) after receiving a report that the suspicious ‘kihah’ (immature coconut) was located near the Guraidhoo Island School – the island’s polling station for the September 7 presidential election.

The coconut was discovered near the school where the polling station is to be set up, Island Council Vice President Abdul Latheef Ahmed confirmed to local media.

“The police brought a ‘ruqyah’ practitioner (white magician) to examine the coconut, who said it was a fake,” a police source told Minivan News today. “Because it’s a fake the police are not worried,” the source added.

No arrests have been made in the case, according to CNM.

“The four-inch coconut had a Sura [Qur’anic verse] written in Arabic and was lying on the ground near the school, easy for the public to see,” said a source from Guraidhoo with knowledge of the incident.

“When school students saw the coconut they called the principal, who then contacted the police,” he continued.

“It was not really ‘fanditha’ (black magic) on the coconut. If it was fanditha, there would have been Arabic letters and numbers written, not a Sura,” he explained.

“It seems like it was a joke, just a prank, so that people will become aware, learn the moral, and not do it again,” he noted, suggesting the coconut was a lesson for islanders not to practice black magic in an attempt to influence voting, and that the polling area would be closely monitored to prevent such activities from occurring.

“Now the police and school officials are more aware and police are patrolling the school at night, so magicians can’t practice real black magic at the school,” said the Guraidhoo source.

Currently nine police are stationed on Guraidhoo for the upcoming election. Normally only five officers are present.

Election fanditha

Using black magic to either prevent people from voting or influence them to vote for a particular party or candidate is common practice on Guraidhoo.

“Here for most of the elections people use  black magic to win [elections],” said a source from Guraidhoo on condition of anonymity.

He recalled an incident where a black magic practitioner predicted a man would die because of the election.

“Then on the election day the 45 year-old man died and people said it was because of black magic,” said the source.

In July, parents at Guraidhoo Island School refused to allow a polling station in the school for the upcoming presidential elections, due to concerns over black magic practiced by a local witch.

The parents alleged there was a witch on the island who, during previous elections, had cast spells to influence the outcome in favour of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) which had affected children after targeting the school premises.

“Girls in the school were getting headaches and having been fainting school for years,” the island source explained.

The Elections Commission ultimately decided to place the ballot box inside Guraidhoo School despite parents’ concerns, reported CNM.

Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek reassured the parents that the commission would take full responsibility if any black magic incidents occurred.

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Police arrest 57 year-old man on charges of performing black magic

Police have arrested a 57 year-old man on the island of Kurinbee in Haa Alifu Atoll on suspicion of performing black magic on the island.

An online newspaper based in Kurinbee, ‘touchwithkurinbee’, identified the man as Adam from the island of Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

The paper reported that police obtained a search warrant from Kurinbee Court and searched the house he was staying in, discovering books and documents related to black magic.

According to the paper, Adam refused to hand over some documents and books to the police and kept telling them that he was not performing black magic, claiming that he had only practiced sorcery for medical purposes.

Ten days prior to the man’s arrest posters began appearing on walls around of Kurinbee issuing warnings that ‘’a sorcerer has been coming to Kurinbee and if he comes again his two legs will be broken.’’

On January 8, the body of 76 year-old man identified as Ali Hassan was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned home on Kudahuvadhoo.

The man was later found to have been murdered by a group of young islanders alleging he had murdered the mother of one of the group using black magic.

More recently, the island council on Ukulhas in North Ari Atoll alleged that a tree inside the school was possessed by evil spirits forced to live there because the school was under a spell, after female students at the school suddenly  fainted.

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Man arrested on suspicion of performing black magic

Police have arrested a 46 year-old man living on the island of Ihavandhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll on suspicion of performing black magic.

Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef today told Minivan News that a man had been arrested Thursday (January 3) on the basis of reports received by authorities.

According to Haneef, the suspect was brought before a judge to decide on his detention period, with the presiding court granting police 10 days to detain the suspect.

Haneef said that lots of tools that could be used to perform black magic, such as documents, books and other materials were found at the suspect’s home.

Local media has reported that the man arrested was believed to be the Imam of the island.

An Ihavandhoo Island councillor has told local media that the suspect, originally from Fuvamulah, had moved to the island of Ihavandhoo last year December.

The councillor alleged that after the suspect arrived on the island, fears had risen among islanders that he had been performing black magic.

The councillor pointed to rumours that had been circulating since the suspect’s arrival on the island that disturbing incidents had been occurring on the island.

Back in June last year, the Maldives Police Service (MPS) arrested an opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activist on charges of practising black magic.

The Activist’s arrest at the time was made just days after the MPS had raided the MDP protest camp at Usfasgandu on the basis of “suspected black magic performed in the area”.

A warrant released at the time approved the raid on the basis of evidence alleged to include that people at the site had previously thrown a “cursed rooster” at Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers.

A case is also presently being heard in the country’s courts concerning the murder of a 76 year-old male alleged to have been a sorcerer, whose body was discovered with with multiple stab wounds on the island of Kudahuvadhoo in January 2012.

Back in 1953, Hakeem Didi was executed by firing squad along with some alleged accomplices after they were found guilty of conspiracy to murder by black magic.

The case was the last time the Maldives judicially executed a criminal suspect.

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