Two detention officers seriously injured after attacks at Maafushi Prison

Two Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) detention officers have been seriously injured after they were assaulted by Maafushi Prison inmates while trying to conduct a routine head count last night (December 1).

Ministry of Home affairs spokesperson Thazmeel Abdul Samad told Minivan News that the officers have been brought to the capital and are being treated for head injuries.

“An officer went in to unit 3 at 10pm to conduct a routine head count and requested assistance after the inmates refused to cooperate, four officers went into the unit to assist him and then they were attacked by the inmates,” explained Thazmeel.

All four officers suffered head injuries with one officer getting bruised on the arm.

Maafushi Prison has been at the centre of a number of incidents this year, including escaped prisoners and deadly assaults on an inmate.

The head count was one of six conducted throughout the day and night, part of recently altered security measures following the escape of two dangerous convicts in October, who had broken through a ventilation shaft and left dummies in their beds to deceive the guards.

“The new security measures state that the detention officers have to enter the cells and check the identity of the inmates even if they are sleeping,” said Thazmeel.

While speaking about the escaped convicts, Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer accepted that there were loopholes in the prison system, that the necessary changes to the procedure have been identified and that they would now be implemented.

“There is no prison in the world from which someone or the other has not escaped from. The strength of a prison system is in how quickly we recapture escapees and return them to their cells,” said Naseer in an interview to Television Maldives.

The escapees in question were Ibrahim Shahum Adam and Fariyash Ahmed – both serving life sentences for separate murder incidents – were soon recaptured in the capital Malé.

While speaking at a ceremony in Maafushi Naseer said he would use a dog squad periodically in preventing the entry of illicit drugs into Maafushi Jail.

In addition to the 20-foot wall, surveillance cameras, increased lighting and automatic locks will be used to strengthen security at the jail, he added.

Last month, correctional services seized large amounts of illegal contraband from jails under its custody, including Maafushi. MCS confiscated 32 phone chargers, 33 SIM cards, and 200 packets of illicit narcotics from the high security facility.

Speaking at a press briefing on November 2, Superintendent of Prisons Mohamed Asif said MCS has been “continuously searching” jails for contraband as part of wider efforts to improve security.

Earlier this year, Maafushi inmate Ibrahim Azar died from serious head injuries he suffered following an attack by two of his cell mates.

A one page MCS report to the Parliament’s oversight committee stated that Azar had requested a transfer to another cell shortly before he was fatally assaulted.

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