An 18-year-old victim of a violent assault in Malé died last night while undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit in the second fatal stabbing in the space of three days.
Local media identified the deceased as Mohamed Mazin, from Dhiggaamaage in Noonu Miladhoo, who was residing in Henveiru Shaiban in the capital.
Mazin was assaulted on Saturday morning around 9:50am near the Henveiru Park along with Ali Arif, 18, also from H. Shaiban.
Police said Mazin had three stab wounds on his back while Arif was stabbed in the ribcage.
A 34-year-old was also stabbed to death on the island of Thulusdhoo in Kaafu atoll on Thursday night (July 31).
Police have since arrested 12 suspects in connection with the spate of violent assaults in the capital during the past six days.
Police revealed yesterday that the Criminal Court has extended the remand detention of three suspects while the other nine remained in temporary police custody as of last night.
“Efforts are also underway to locate other suspects,” according to police media.
The serious and organised crime department was collecting CCTV camera footage from across the capital, police said, and searching for suspects based on information relayed by members of the public.
The stabbing of the 18-year-old pair yesterday brought the number of victims of violent crimes during the past week to nine.
On the previous night (August 1), a 19-year-old was stabbed near the Henveiru Park and hospitalised after sustaining head injuries.
Last week, four men and a woman were assaulted in separate incidents. While one man was mugged in the Maafanu ward, two men were stabbed in Hulhumalé, a woman was stabbed in the back in the Galolhu ward, and a fourth victim was stabbed in the Henveiru ward.
Prior to the recent fatal stabbings, there had been 29 murders in the Maldives since 2007.
Meanwhile, the Jumhooree Party has called on the government to take necessary measures to curb the escalating violence while former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom called for “murderers” to be “caught and punished according to law.”
“Where are the killers of Afrashim, Muheeth, policeman Haleem and others?” the leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives tweeted.
Police meanwhile revealed that Chief Inspector Ibrahim Naveen, head of the central operations command, together with commanders of relevant departments have commenced “special efforts” to curb the spike in violent crime “on the advice of Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed.”
A task force committee has been formed to supervise and oversee the efforts, police said.
Similar task forces were set up in recent years to combat gang violence in the capital, most recently in May 2013 after four stabbings in 48 hours.
As part of the present efforts, police have been stopping and frisking individuals and searching residences based on intelligence information.
Police are also searching for individuals “suspected of committing violent assault with sharp objects”.
Moreover, the Specialist Operations (SO) department along with Malé City police and traffic police would be questioning and frisking individuals “loitering on the streets with no purpose” both after midnight and during the day.
Security operations have also been stepped up in Vilimalé and Hulhumalé.
As police were finding it hard to identify suspects due to “difficulties” obtaining information from eyewitnesses at crime scenes, police appealed for cooperation from members of the public.
“Those who share such information with police will receive due protection,” police assured.
A report by the Asia Foundation in late 2012 found that political and corporate elites financed gangs “to carry out a range of illegal activities that serve their political or business interests”.
Police statistics meanwhile reveal 95 incidents of assault reported in July alone, bringing the total number of assault cases to 697 this year. Approximately 1,500 cases of assault are reported annually in the Maldives, of which a majority occurs in Malé.