Addu City accident victim in serious condition

A road accident that occurred in Addu City around 10:00am this morning has left a 23-year-old man in critical condition.

According to local media, the victim is undergoing treatment for head injuries at the intensive care unit of the Hithadhoo regional hospital.

The hospital is making arrangements to transfer the patient to Malé while the other victim of the accident only sustained minor injuries.

The accident occurred on the Hithadhoo main road when a speeding motorcycle lost control and crashed into police barricades.

In late May, a 30-year-old man died of injuries sustained in an accident in the Maradhoo ward of Addu City.

Several fatal accidents occur each year in the interlinked islands of the southernmost atoll.

Three young men died after road accidents on March 30 and April 10.


Victim of motorcycle accident in Addu City dies

A 33-year-old man died Tuesday night (November 11) in Addu City while undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in an accident on the Hithadhoo main road, reports local media.

Three men were injured when two speeding motorcycles collided on the main road around 7:30pm.

The deceased was undergoing treatment at the Hithadhoo regional hospital when he passed away.

In September, two men died after their motorcycle collided with a pickup on the link road of Addu City.


Man arrested with drugs worth MVR700,000

Police arrested a 23-year-old male suspect yesterday while he was attempting to smuggle MVR700,000 (US$45,396) worth of drugs to Addu City.

According to police media, the individual arrived in Gan airport in the southernmost atoll on Maldivian flight Q2-101 with the illicit narcotics taped around his thighs.

The case is under investigation by the Hithadhoo police station.


President promises Hithadhoo hospital construction

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has stated that the construction of a new 100-bed hospital in Hithadhoo, Addu City will be begin this year, according to local media Sun Online.

The announcement was made at a Progressive Party of Maldives event in Hithadhoo last night (March 18).

Sun Online quoted President Yameen as saying “Construction of a 100-bed hospital in Hithadhoo will also begin, God willing, within this year.” According to their report the new hospital will be funded by aid from a foreign government.

According to the report, President Yameen also highlighted a number of other construction projects underway, including a new operation theatre in Hithadhoo Regional Hospital.


President Yameen reiterates campaign pledges ahead of local council elections

President Abdulla Yameen reiterated the Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) pledges at a campaign rally in Addu City last night ahead of Saturday’s local council election, urging voters to choose candidates willing to work with the government.

Addressing supporters in Hithadhoo, President Yameen vowed to fulfil the PPM’s pledge to provide MVR10,000 a month to fishermen during lean months, and to raise old age benefits from MVR2,700 to MVR5,000 a month before the end of the year.

“But I said even then [during the presidential election], these things are not done out of the state budget. MVR2,700 a month is given to all persons over the age of 65 from the state’s budget. In addition to money given from the state budget, what I said was that there are large amounts of money in various state funds,” Yameen said.

“If this money is handed over to a fund manager to earn a better income, an adequate profit could be made from it. It is from this that the MVR5,000 I mentioned could be distributed,” he explained.

The old age pension could not have been increased in the state budget as parliament has not approved any of the government’s revenue raising measures, Yameen contended.

The Fisheries Ministry has meanwhile begun registering fishermen, Yameen continued, after which the scheme for providing MVR10,000 a month would be launched.

Fishermen would have to pay about MVR80 to MVR90 a month as a deposit to a fund, he explained, out of which MVR10,000 would be distributed during months when fishing is poor.

“But I should have the opportunity to do this, shouldn’t I? It is the public that gives me the opportunity. The public gives this opportunity through the councillors and members of parliament you elect,” he said, urging voters to choose PPM or government-aligned candidates in the upcoming elections.

Regardless of political affiliation or ideology, he added, the public should ensure that MPs “do not say no to projects that are beneficial to the people,” which was not the case at present with MPs of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Opposition MPs should vote for the budget and enable the executive to enact its economic policies, Yameen contended, as the government was elected by a majority of the public with implicit endorsement of its policies.

Refusing to approve ministerial appointees or pass legislation did not amount to “holding the government accountable,” he argued.

Addu City development

A number of infrastructure projects for the southernmost atoll was included in the 2014 budget, Yameen said, including establishing sewerage systems, providing clean water, and upgrading powerhouses.

Moreover, he added, the Addu International Airport at Gan would become “a seaplane hub” that transports tourists to nearby atolls.

As a foreign company has won the bid for the Herethera Resort, Yameen said further jobs would be created, whilst more tourism projects for Addu City were in the pipeline.

The government has also invited bids for the Equatorial Convention Center – which was at present an “eyesore” that was “not utilised for any purpose” – to be developed as “a city hotel complex,” Yameen said.

“We’re talking about thousands of jobs. We’re talking about economic development. We’re not talking about mariculture in a small lagoon here. We are talking about projects, a vision for economic progress,” he said.

Noting that MVR300 million (US$19 million) was allocated for the youth ministry, Yameen also pledged to establish a sports complex in each ward of Addu City this year.

High youth employment and sports facilities were necessary to reduce crime, he stressed.

If the government’s efforts were not obstructed, Yameen said, the country would undergo an “economic transformation” with GDP per capita doubled in the next five years and tourist arrivals reaching 5 million a year.

“Vote for the scale”

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has meanwhile been campaigning in Male’ for MDP candidates from the capital.

Speaking at a campaign event in Maafanu last week, Nasheed urged the public to “vote for the scale [MDP logo]” to preserve and consolidate democracy.

The choice was between the unjust and oppressive practices of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year reign and the “rapid development” and social security of the MDP’s three years in government, Nasheed contended.

“Do you want equality or for the riches of the nation to be left to a wealthy few? Do you want to maintain individual liberty or lose your freedom of expression and freedom of assembly saying it is for the good of the society?” he asked.

“Do you want the path to development becoming clear through political parties and peaceful political activity or do you want an authoritarian family rule?”

Nasheed called on voters to choose MDP to “reform and improve the condition of this country.”

“It is not possible to do it in one election. Outmoded principles and traits entrenched through the ages can only be changed in this country by repeatedly voting for the scale,” he said.


Police search six houses as part of special operation conducted in Addu

Police have searched six houses on Hithadhoo in Addu City as part of a special operation conducted by the police Special Operations (SO) team based in Addu for elections security.

A police spokesperson would not confirm whether anybody was arrested during the raids.

However, Police South Division Commander, Chief Inspector Ahmed Shifan, told local news outlet Sun Online that police had confiscated hard disks and related items from some of the houses.

Shifan also told the paper that the houses were searched in bid to clarify certain information required for a case police were investigating, and that all the houses were searched after obtaining a court warrant.

He declined to provide further information.

Police had previously searched the premises of a house owned by a senior activist of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on the island of Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, who was arrested on allegations that he had printed ballot papers. Police also confiscated the internal hard disk of his computer.

An island council source on Kulhudhufushi at the time told Minivan News that the party was alleged to have printed oversize, laminated versions of the ballot paper to demonstrate to people how to vote.

The MDP issued a statement saying the party had sent a letter to Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz asking him to return the hard disk back to the MDP, as it contained important material related to the MDP presidential election campaign.

On June 24, police decided to station Special Operations (SO) officers in Addu to work with the Thinadhoo police station and establish “peace and security” for the election.

On February 7, 2012, SO officers among others instigated a violent mutiny, assaulted government supporters, ransacked the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Haruge (meeting hall), staged a protest at the Republic Square demanding the resignation of then-President Mohamed Nasheed, clashed with soldiers and stormed the national broadcaster in the hours immediately preceding Nasheed’s controversial resignation.

Moreover, on February 8, 2012 SO officers brutally beat supporters of the deposed MDP during a heavy-handed crackdown of a protest march led by Nasheed, who had announced that his resignation the previous day was made “under duress.”

Mayor of Addu City Abdulla ‘Soabe’ Sodiq did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


PPM’s Hithadhoo campaign hall subject to arson attack

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) campaign hall in Hithadhoo in Addu City has been seriously damaged following a fire early this morning.

“So far, we believe that this was an arson attack. We have found evidence to support this theory. The campaign hall caught fire so easily because there were kerosene and other flammable material inside,” Inspector of Police Ahmed Shifan told local media.

Nobody was reported to have been hurt in the incident, although a large amount of electronic equipment was said to have been damaged beyond repair.

Police – who dealt with the fire – are now investigating the incident but are not reported to have yet made any arrests.


Police confirm 66-year old man stabbed in Addu City attack

A 66-year old man was stabbed in Addu City and robbed of his mobile phone and wallet this afternoon, police have confirmed.

The incident occurred at 2:44pm today, with the wounded man later being admitted to Hithadhoo Regional Hospital.

He was later identified by police as Hassan Ali of Saifaimaage, who had previously worked for the Maldives Police Service in a civil position before retiring with honour.

The case is now under investigation.

Local media has meanwhile reported that the man received injuries to his arm and ear in the attack.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case at present.


Man dies during MNDF military training programme

A man has died while taking part in a military training program in Addu City yesterday (February 23), local media reports.

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Media Officer Abdulla Ali told local media that the man, 24 year-old Ismail Habeeb of Seenu Feydhoo Dhunnikage, died whilst taking part in swimming training.

Local media reported that Habeeb had just completed his 200 metre swimming test before suddenly drowning as he touched the finish mark.

Ali said instructors had jumped in and taken him out of the water within five seconds, and took him to Hithadhoo Regional Hospital immediately.

The MNDF media officer said the hospital had confirmed Habeeb’s death, but said the official cause of death can only be confirmed after a review of the doctor’s reports.