Guraidhoo Island Council stops ballot boxes inside schools citing “too much black magic”

The Guraidhoo Island Council has passed a motion against keeping any ballot boxes inside schools on the island after islanders complained about “too much black magic”, the President of the Island Council Hussain Yameen Mohamed has said.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Yameen said that the council have been receiving a lot of complaints from parents and local islanders regarding the issue.

“This time two parents and one man and a woman were affected by the black magic and had to be treated,’’ he said. “The islanders and parents are concerned that if the ballot boxes are kept inside the schools, the black magicians will target the schools and students will be affected.”

Yameen said that the council and the Elections Commission will discuss and decide upon a place to keep the ballot boxes for the second round of presidential election.

“Friday night there was unrest on this island where Maldivian Democratic Party [MDP] supporters confronted the police,’’ he said. “The MDP supporters thought that two spiritual healers on the island were casting spells on the island school and confronted them and police went to the area.”

He said that one person was arrested on charges of attacking a police officer at the scene but have been released now.

“The island council will try its best to make sure that the ballot boxes are not placed in any of the schools,” he added.

Voters on Guraidhoo were reported to have queued for over 17 hours in order to stand on the location of a black magic coconut, ensuring that all voters would choose the same candidate as the first in line.

Multiple reports of ‘fanditha’ (magic) have accompanied the election, ranging from cursed coconuts and witches to black magic dolls.

It was reported on social media today that police on Velidhoo Island, Noonu Atoll, were taking down MDP flags, alleging they had black magic symbols on them.

Minivan News has also learned of individuals in Male’ attempting to purchase conch shells – revered for their alleged magical properties – for large sums of money.

Spells and accusations cast

A MDP supporter on Guraidhoo, who spoke to Minivan News on condition of anonymity, said that the spiritual healers on the island were supporters of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the MDP supporters went against him when they saw him spilling water around the island school.

“The MDP supporters tried to stop him and the police came and tried to stop the MDP supporters, and then there was a little confrontation between the police and MDP supporters,” he said.

He said that the spiritual healers had left the island the same night.

However, Yameen told Minivan News that the spiritual healers were on the island for a completely unrelated purpose.

“They were here to take pictures of some Quran books that were buried on the beach,” he said.

On September 4, Guraidhoo police station 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 school, where the presidential election polling was set up.

In July this year, a Guraidhoo islander said parents of the island have been refusing – and raising their voices against – keeping ballot boxes inside island schools because black magicians were casting spells on the school for election and later it affects the students.

“After the local council election,  the school students started fainting inside the classrooms and this became a huge issue,” the islander told Minivan News at the time. “The parents knew this was related to something like this and called in a group of spiritual healers.’’

He said the spiritual healers forced the spirits to talk to them through the body of the possessed students, who told the healers that they were unable to leave the students as long as the products of sorcery remained inside the school grounds. The spirits reportedly told the healers the exact locations where the sorceress had placed the spells.

Last week, a police team were sent to search for black magic practitioners on Thakandhoo Island in Haa Alif Atoll after MDP supporters were accused of being responsible for the possession of four local children by evil spirits.


Dead tourist found on Dhiffushi Island

Additional reporting by Leah Malone

The dead body of a foreign national has been found washed up on the west shore of Dhiffushi Island in Kaafu Atoll,  police have confirmed.

Police stated that the body of a caucasian male was found at about 1:23pm this afternoon (June 5), and a team of officers had been dispatched to the island.

A Police Spokesperson confirmed the incident had occurred and referred Minivan News to the Police Duty Officer hotline, which was switched off at time of press.

Dhiffushi Island Council President Hussein Rabeeu told Minivan News a group of islanders had noticed this afternoon that something was drifting towards the beach on the west side of the island.

Rabeeu said he was called by the islanders when the object came close enough to be identified as a dead body.

“I called the police who said they are on their way and asked us not to touch it,” he said.

“But a while later two American tourists from nearby Meerufenfushi Island Resort swam to the island and said the dead body was the third person who was with them.”

According to Rabeeu, the two tourists swam to the island from a nearby resort looking for their friend.

“They told us that they went out snorkeling and hit a storm, and lost one of their number. They confirmed it was the body of the person they were looking for,” he said.

“Now the management of the resort is also here and have confirmed the body is of a guest staying at the resort.”

Rabeeu said the dead man was wearing snorkelling gear when he was found. Local media published pictures of the body showing a man with dark hair and wearing blue swimming trunks.

Meeru Island Resort and Spa said it was unable to make a statement at time of press.

“Our general manager is very busy handling the case at the moment and is unable to take calls,” Meeru Island Resort and Spa Secretary Sherlyn Mauricio told Minivan News.

“We do not have the full details and are still dealing with the incident, so we are not allowed to say anything at this time.”

The US Embassy was unable to confirm the nationality of the deceased at time of press.

“Our consular staff are looking into the incident. Out of respect for the individual’s privacy we cannot share anything further at this time,” US Embassy official Chris Elms told Minivan News.


Kandooma Resort signs up to provide water plant to local island

Kandooma Resort in Kaafu Atoll today signed an agreement to provide a 30 tonne water plant to the local island of Guraidhoo as part of a MVR1.5 million (US$97,600) investment by the company.

Resort management signed an agreement with Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) to move forward with the project, which is expected to be completed by year end, according to the Sun Online.

Guraidhoo Council President Hussain Yameen today praised the efforts of the resort in providing funding for the plant, local media reported.


Afrasheem’s murder “carefully planned”: Home Minister

The probe into the murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali on October 1 has revealed that youth are being increasingly used in crimes, Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has said.

Speaking at a ceremony held on Thulusdhoo in at Kaafu Atoll, Dr Jameel said that individuals who offer alcohol, drugs and money to young people to kill cannot remain hidden.

“It is difficult for us to believe and for our minds to think about it. The investigation has revealed that the murder had been carefully planned. This is a matter of concern,” Jameel said.

Jameel claimed that Afrasheem’s murderer has been found and that culprits behind the crime will be revealed soon.

Speaking about issues in the Maldives, Jameel claimed that 90 percent of crimes are related to drugs, and that not enough attention has been given to substance abuse in the last three years.

According to Jameel, all illegal acts are related to alcohol and that those who dare mention it are being criticised. He further stated that there have been no prosecutions made in alcohol related cases in the last three years.


Heavy Load re-submits proposal for developing Enboodhoo

A proposal to develop  Enboodhoo lagoon in Kaafu Atoll has been re-submitted by Heavy Load Maldives, a corporation linked to Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Chairperson Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, Haveeru reports.

The National Planning Council reportedly discussed the proposal by Heavy Load in early July. But officials said the proposal has not been fully approved, and all parties are invited to submit proposals.

Heavy Load received US$21 million (Rf269.8 million) from Thilafushi Corporation Limited (TCL) in late September, allegedly to reclaim 130 hectares from Thilafushi lagoon, reports Haveeru.

However, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) asked Heavy Load to halt work and open the project opportunity to other development groups.

Enboodhoo lagoon is located 10 kilometers from Malé.


Supreme Court rules after High Court on council office relocations

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled against orders issued by Magistrate Courts in Maafushi and Nilandhoo that called for atoll councilors to move the premises of their secretariat offices back to their islands.

Haveeru reported that the decision of the Supreme Court followed the earlier verdict of the nation’s High Court backing temporary orders issued by local Magistrates in support of Kaafu Atoll councilors who opted to move their offices in Maafushi to Thulusdhoo without government approval. The High Court had also ruled in favour of council counterparts in Shaviyani Atoll, who wished to move their own office from Maafushi to Thulusdhoo.

In the ruling, judges were said to have ruled unanimously against the Maafushi and Nilandhoo Magistrates Court claiming that rulings that contradict previous judgments made at national courts of the same level were invalid.

According to the paper, judges added that the three levels of courts in the nation were a vital means of guaranteeing law and order and no court was allowed to intervene in the “special jurisdictions” of another legal institution at the same level.

The issue of relocating offices and the powers of local councils formed during local elections last month has proved to be a particularly divisive issue this week for the country’s politicians and courts, with the country’s police service also being drawn into the dispute.

Correction: The article has been amended from its original form that incorrectly stated that the Supreme Court had ruled against the High Court. Minivan News apologises for the error.


Thulusdhoo court orders police to give councilors keys to former atoll office

The Island Court of Thulusdhoo has ordered police to hand over the keys of the former Atoll office in Thulusdhoo to councilors immediately.

Yesterday, in a council meeting held in Kaafu Atoll Office in Maafushi, the newly elected Kaafu Atoll councilors decided to move the current Atoll office to its former premises based in Kaafu Atoll, Thulusdhoo.

However, after the decision was made, police confiscated the keys of the former Kaafu Atoll office in Thulushoo and councilors were not allowed to enter. Councilors then requested the island court order police to hand over the keys.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News that the atoll office building in Thulusdhoo “is an asset of the government, so the councilors will have to come to a common understanding with the government if they want to enter the building.”

Shiyam said that police had taken the keys due to a conflict between the government and the newly appointed local council over officially handing over the building.

“The building in question belongs to the government, which therefore has to agree to officially hand it over to the council,” he said. “The situation requires some form of agreement between the two parties and this is what the police have tried to [negotiate].”

Shiyam said that it was waiting for the government and council representatives to come to “some sort of understanding” in order to solve the dispute.

He said he could not comment on whether the police would be obeying the island court order.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that councilors do not have the authority to decide where the atoll office would be located.

”When this government came in to administration, the atoll office of Kaafu Atoll was located in Thulushdoo, once when the Province state minister visited Thulusdhoo, islanders forced him to leave the island,” Zuhair explained.

”So by presidential decree, President Nasheed moved the atoll office to Maafushi, to locate the atoll office on an island where province state minister could visit.”

Zuhair said that the decision of the Kaafu Atoll councilors “harms the sovereignty of the state.”

”It’s not within their legal power to decide whether they will have the atoll office on an uninhabited island or inside president’s office, only the president has that authority,” he said, adding that ”the atoll councilors will have to report to the atoll office wherever it is located”.

the dispute led to a confrontation between police and citizens of Thulusdhoo, according to the local media, in which both police and islanders were said to have been injured.


Dhiffushi divided: islanders concerned about anonymous man preaching Islam from bedroom

People living on Dhiffushi in Kaafu Atoll have expressed concern about an anonymous man living in the island preaching Islam to an isolated and growing congregation.

A authority familiar with the matter told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that the man claimed to be a resident of Male’, and said he had moved to Dhiffushi with his wife and two kids ”because he liked the island.”

He claimed the man “preaches Islam to people and convinces them to form an isolated congregations and to join him.”

”There are youths following and protecting him,” he said, ”he leads all the prayers, including Friday prayers, in his bedroom.”

He said the man claimed he is living the way Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) lived.

”He uses a mop stick as his staff,” the source said. ”People one day spied on them while they were doing the Friday prayers and found out that he gives the Friday speech standing on his bed with his crowd surrounding him,.”

He said the man and his followers had claimed that the imam of the government mosque was a sorcerer, and that there was a corpse buried under the mosque.

”Islanders are really angry with his behavior,” the source said. ”Some people have already told him to leave the island immediately.”

He said the man’s his acts were dividing the society of the island.

An official at the Island office said that the case had been reported to the Islamic Ministry and the Atoll Office.

”At first they did the Friday prayers in his room,” he said, ”now they do it secretly in other room.”

Spokesperson for the Islamic Ministry Sheikh Ahmadullah and Permanent Secretary Mohamed Didi said they had no information on the matter.


Tourist dies while snorkelling at Embudhu Village Resort

A 69 year old German tourist died yesterday while snorkelling at Embudhu Village Resort in Kaafu Atoll, eight kilometres from Male’.

Police confirmed the case was reported at 4:45pm yesterday.

A senior staff member at Embudu village told Minivan News the man went snorkeling with his friend yesterday.

”His friend noticed that he had been floating in the water without movement for a while and went to help him,” the staff member said.

”When he shook him he did not move, so he knew that something was wrong. The sea was clam and there was low tide that time.”

He said the dead man’s friend shouted at a speed boat entering the resort and the man was recovered from the water.

”He was immediately taken Male’ to confirm his death.”

The man arrived at the resort on holiday with his wife on the 23 February and was supposed to have left on 9 February, the staff member said. The man’s son will arrive at the resort tomorrow.

Police seargant Abdul Muhsin said a forensic team were investigating the man’s body but had found no external injuries. ”He has been taken to mortuary now” he said.

Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) confirmed the death yesterday.