Two more MNDF officers suspended indefinitely, Brigadier General removed from command

The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has suspended two more officers, and removed Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal from his position as the Commandant of Training and Doctrine (CTD).

The move comes just three days after the MNDF introduced an amendment to its own regulations to include a chapter that imposes punishments and penalties against officers who incite ‘upheaval and chaos’ within the military ranks.

Hours after the new amendments were brought into force, First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef was handed an ‘indefinite suspension’ from the service on the grounds that he was found guilty of attempting to cause upheaval and chaos within the military rank.

During the early hours of Friday, the MNDF in a statement on its website made the announcement that two more officers – Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed and Lance Corporal Sharhaab Rashid – had been given an indefinite suspension.

According to the statement, both the officers had been suspended under the section 4(a) of the MNDF Employment Regulation – the same provision which the MNDF justified the suspension of First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef.

The statement claimed that Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed had been suspended for inciting “upheaval and discord” among the ranks of the military while Lance Corporal Sharhaab Rashid had been suspended for “disseminating confidential information to the public without authorisation”.

Meanwhile, the suspensions also coincided with the removal of Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal from his position as Commandant of Training and Doctrine (CTD).

Brigadier General Shamaal, who was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General in 2010 during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration, has undergone extensive military training and education, acquiring expertise in the field of defense and security studies.

He is currently a member of United Nations Senior Experts on Security Sector Reform (SSR) Roster – the first ever Maldivian to acquire membership on the roster.

Apart from the Commandant of Training and Doctrine of MNDF, Brigadier General Shamaal is also a Commandant of the MNDF Marine Corp.

MNDF Media Official Colonel Abdul Raheem confirmed to local media that two officers Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed and Lance Corporal Sharhaab Rashid had been suspended indefinitely.

He also confirmed that Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal had been removed from his position, but said he did not exactly know the reason for the removal. However, Colonel Raheem said that MNDF has not yet taken any decision to remove Brigadier General Shamaal from his position as Commandant of the MNDF Marine Corp.

The ‘anti upheaval and chaos’ amendment that has now become the 22nd chapter of the Military Regulation dictates that upheavals and chaos that are incited through speech, writing, action or gesture among members of the military will be subjected to administrative punishments and penalties.

The new definition of incitement of ‘upheaval and chaos’ laid down in the new amendment includes:

  • Making demands through petitions drawn among two or more officers
  • Displaying content that could sow discord and disorder amongst military flanks through speech, writing, graphical depictions, photographs or any other means
  • Speech or conduct that amounts to doubts and questions being raised about the legality of an order given to the officers or a group of officers and
  • Incitement of hatred and false allegations towards the upper ranks of the military.

The suspensions and actions taken against senior MNDF officers are believed to have begun following a letter of concern sent to the Chief of Defense Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam by senior officers of the MNDF.

In the letter, the officers raised concerns over threats to national security and internal security following the recent Supreme Court order to indefinitely suspend the run-off election of the Presidential Election – which could possibly lead the country to a state of constitutional limbo.

A leaked copy of the letter obtained by Minivan News suggested that Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal was the first person to sign the letter.

MNDF Media Official Colonel Raheem – a signatory of the letter himself – confirmed the authenticity of the letter, telling Minivan News last week that it had been intended to inform the MNDF leadership of their “concerns about political turbulence in the country right now and how the military should plan and prepare for it”.

In a similar notion, Former Male Area Commander of MNDF Retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi – who is publicly regarded as a hero for his exploits during the 1988 Tamil coup attempt – in a letter published on social media advised military officers to uphold the law and constitution regardless of who attempted to undermine it.

“My advice to the military officers is: ‘Do not give the opportunity to anyone who plans to rule this country by taking the laws to their own hands and override the constitution and undermine the constitutional framework of this country’,” wrote the ex-Brigadier General.