A shipment of swords has been intercepted by customs inspectors, who discovered the weapons inside a container imported to the Maldives and originally loaded in China.
A person familiar with the matter told Minivan News that there were more than five swords in the container, and suggested they had been imported by senior political figures in an effort to arm the gangs belonging to one or either political party.
“The swords were not imported by any of the gangs. Rather it was an attempt by a senior political figure of the country to arm the gangs and raise the heat of the situation of Male’,” the source claimed.
“The gang war is ongoing. If the weapons were imported then they would [be allocated] to one of the senior gang members, and then distributed amongst other members of their gangs.’’
Spokesperson for Maldives Ports Limited (MPL), Hassan Muzni Mohamed, confirmed the swords were discovered during an inspection by customs officers.
“According to our staff, five swords were discovered inside that container,’’ he said.
The ship that carried the container, ‘MOL KOMATI’, was loaded in China and stopped at a port in Singapore prior arriving in the Maldives.
Spokesperson for the Customs Authority Mohamed Ibrahim said that the swords were discovered on Thursday night and had ‘’apparently been produced in China.’’
‘’The swords are double-edged and three feet long,’’ said Ibrahim. ‘’We will hand them to the Defense Ministry after doing the necessary investigations.’’
Ibrahim stated that those responsible “would be charged for importing a contraband material, and attempting to import a material in secrecy. The swords were not mentioned in any of the documents.”
A police media official said the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) would investigate the case.
MNDF Major Abdul Raheem said the defense ministry would have information regarding the swords but that they had not yet been handed over to the MNDF.
State Minister for Defence Muiz Adnan said he had no information regarding the swords, but claimed that “sometimes swords are available to buy at some souvenir shops.”
The Criminal Court has previously released a person arrested and charged for possessing a sword, ruling that the Constitution and laws were silent on the issue as there was no law specifically prohibiting the possession of swords, and therefore there were no grounds to sentence the person.
Last Friday a 17 year-old boy was stabbed to death by a group of people, after watching a football match with friends.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the ship’s owner would be charged. This was a misunderstanding and has been amended pending clarification. Minivan News apologises for any confusion caused.