A 55 year-old male accused of molesting a minor in Male’ this week has surrendered to authorities, police have confirmed.
Police spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that the suspect, identified as Saeed Ahmed, was presently being held in custody after handing himself over to officers yesterday evening (December 31, 2012).
According to the Maldives Police Service (MPS), the suspect stands accused of entering a house in the capital where the 13 year-old girl was staying at around 9:30pm before sexually assaulting her on Sunday (December 30).
Haneef confirmed Saeed was presently the only suspect being sought in connection to the alleged sexual assault of a 13 year-old girl.
Police had yesterday published a picture of Saeed in local media to appeal for information from the public on his whereabouts.
The assault was the third suspected case of sexual abuse involving children or young women to have been reported over the last week.
On Saturday (December 29), police announced the arrest of a 33 year-old man on suspicion of raping 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.
Authorities have also confirmed that 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.
Sub-Inspector Haneef confirmed yesterday 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 three suspects had been extended from three to 15 days.
According to an unpublished 2009 study on violence against minors, almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives have been sexually abused.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 has previously concluded that one in three Maldivian women aged 15 to 49 experience either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, including during childhood.
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.