40 Somali castaways sent back home after four years

Police have said that 40 Somali castaways that were found in the Maldivian EEZ on different occasions since December 2009 have been sent back to their country.

The police said that all these people were accommodated in Dhoonidhoo Police Custodial remand centre under police charge during their time in the Maldives.

Police said that the Somalis were successfully sent back after cooperation between the government and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

A joint operation was conducted with police Serious and Organized Crime Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Aviation Security to send them back, police said.

According to police, the Somalis were sent in a chartered flight and were accompanied with security officers.

The police said that the 40 Somalis included seven castaways rescued on December 2009, another five castaways rescued in the same month.

In 2010, authorities rescued seven Somali nationals on May 26, six were rescued on June 5, two on July 2, seven on November 28. Three more were rescued on 30 November 2010 and another three castaways rescued on December 2011.

In March 2012, a then-senior government official told Minivan News that the castaways under the custody of Maldivian authorities had refused to return home despite arrangements that were made for their safe repatriation.

According to the government official, who spoke to Minivan News on condition of total anonymity, the government had devoted “immeasurable amount of time and effort” over the past three years to safely repatriate several Somali nationals who have been discovered in Maldivian waters in dinghies lost at sea.

A delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delegation arrived in the Maldives in 2012 to confirm the Somali’s preferences as no refugee can be repatriated without consent under the international conventions.

The Maldives cannot resort to the option of forced repatriation as Somalia is recognised as an unsafe state.

Maldives has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol citing “financial and technical capacity constraints” but the convention prohibits all states, regardless of whether they have acceded it, from returning a “refugee to a territory where his or her life or freedom is threatened”.


Dhoni capsizes en route to Makunudhoo

A dhoni (traditional boat) carrying gravel from Kulhudufushi in Haa Dhaal Atoll capsized en route to Makunudhoo around 3.45pm today, reports local daily Haveeru.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) confirmed the accident. According to the newspaper, the boat was from Neykurendhoo and three crewmembers were onboard at the time.

All three survived unharmed and were reportedly travelling in a dinghy.


Four Maldivians questioned for allegedly committing bestiality with a goat

Police have questioned four men from the island of Makunudhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll following allegations the men had sex with a goat.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed police had questioned the men, but said no arrests had been made.

President of Makunudhoo Island Council Mohamed Rilwan said that all four of the men were aged between 19 and 21.

Two of the men were from Makunudhoo while the other two were originally from the neighboring island of Neykurendhu, he said.

‘’Lately the owner of the goat had been suspicious that something was wrong because he was finding things such as condoms on his farm where he keeps 50 goats,’’ said Rilwan.

‘’Early one morning when he went to the farm he saw two goats outside the fence and thought it was odd because there was no way a goat could have climbed over the fence.”

Rilwan said the owner then counted the goats and realised one goat was missing, and started searching for it.

‘’He found the goat near the beach, it was laid down on a cardboard paper. He observed that it could not walk properly and that its sexual organs were injured,’’ he said. ‘’He then reported the matter to the concerned authorities.’’

Rilwan said  more than five goats on the farm had been subjected to similar assaults.

‘’The owner has noted that he has frequently seen this group of four men near the farm. They have been selecting healthy muscular goats to do this,’’ he said.

Local newspaper Haveeru reported that the goat found on the beach had now died.

Haveeru also reported that the deceased animal was a billy-goat, however Rilwan told Minivan News that it was a nanny goat.


Mystery around Somalian survivors deepens as health improves

A nurse attending to the Somalian man who was first believed to be dead, and was left inside the anchor locker of a small boat after he was found adrift with five other men, has said he is ”progressing” despite his “serious condition”.

The nurse, on condition of anonymity, told Minivan News that the man was brought to Kulhudhufushi Regional Hospital along with the five men yesterday.

”The man’s condition is very serious,” she said. ”He is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit.”

‘The man has injuries to his back bone and shoulder and is very weak, she said.

The other five men’s condition is now stable, she added.

One of the five Somalian man was due to be buried on the assumption he was dead, after rescuers observed he did not move his body or show any sign of being alive.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that the body was handled to police the next day morning, and claimed it was not the responsibility of the police to declare the death of the person.

Daily newspaper Haveeru reported that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) confirmed the death of the man after he was checked by a doctor at  Haadhaalu Makunudhu Health Centre.

However, MNDF Major Abdul Raheem denied the claims in Haveeru, claiming they were “misleading”.

Abdul said that MNDF did not ask the doctor to check the body and did not declare the death of the body either.

”When Haveeru contacted us, we told that there was one dead body because when MNDF arrived to the island, the doctor at the health centre told us that five men were admitted to the hospital and one dead man was left in the boat in which they came,” said Abdul. ”We cannot ask the doctor, after he says a man is dead, how he knew that he was dead.”

Abdul said that later MNDF understood that the doctor also did not check the body.

Head of Makunudhu Health Centre Ibrahim Shareef confirmed the doctor did not check the body.

”Police and MNDF also did not,” said Shareef, ”and the doctor was busy attending the five admitted men,”

Shareef said the five men first treated at the health centre were now in a stable condition, leaving the only one man’s condition serious.

An official at Makunudhu said that “most” of the islanders believed the six men were pirates.

He said that there was one “very strong” man, who was really fit compared to other five men, ”and seems to be well trained for such incidents.”

”He was the only man that could stand up, while all others did not have any power,” he said. ”He seems to be the leader of them.”

He said that the alleged leader of the crowd answered even when other member of the crew were questioned.

”When we gave them food, he took it all and divided it among everyone, and he told everyone not to eat too much,” he said. ”Maybe because he understands that they have been starving for a long time and it is not good to eat too much.”

MNDF Major Abdul Raheem said that there was no sign that they were pirates.

”We checked their boat and the nearby uninhabited island also,” he said, ”they had nothing with them.”

He said that according to how the wind was blowing during this monsoon, anybody traveling from Somalia who lost control would potentially be carried towards Maldivian waters.

”But we cannot estimate how long it will take, because the wind blows at different speeds at different times,” he said.

”Somalians use those type of boats both for fishing and piracy,” he added.