Man and woman arrested in Seenu Atoll over buried foetus

A 26-year old male and 20 year-old-female have reportedly been arrested by police in connection with the discovery of a five month-old foetus found buried on a beach on the island of Maradhoo Feydhoo in Seenu Atoll yesterday.

Local media has announced that the two suspects, reported to be a married couple, were presently being held in custody.

Police discovered the foetus buried on a beach on Maradhoo Feydhoo after local witnesses reported a motorist acting suspiciously in the area on Friday evening, according to local newspaper Haveeru.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at the time of press.

Dr Aishath Rameela, State Minister for Gender, Family, and Human Rights, told Minivan News that her department had not received any official report from the police or the local council on the matter.

Dr Rameela added that the Gender Ministry was awaiting an official report by the Maldives Police Service before it could begin providing assistance in the case.

“Right now as the situation stands, we are not actively involved [with the case]. All we know is that there is a deceased child,” she said, adding that she had, at the time of press, only received information on the case through local media.

“In terms of this case, we don’t know who the mother is or is she is under-age. We also do not know who the culprits may be.”

Dr Rameela added that in cases of under-age pregnancy or suspected child abuse her department worked to support police in their investigations, with law enforcement officials unable to question children without a case worker assigned from the Gender Ministry.

She stressed that the ministry, through 19 island centres across the country, sought to provide protection to child victims of sexual abuse and ensure they remained safe following an incident.

Desperate measures

While police are yet to reveal details of the case, there have been a number of recent incidents reported in media where pregnant women have been forced to take desperate measures, such as self-induced abortions, infanticide or abandoning infants.

In June, police recovered the body of a newborn infant buried in the outdoor shower of a house on Shaviyani Feydhoo island. The baby’s mother was identified as a 15 year-old school student.

In the last two years, three newborns have been found dead in the country, with a further two newborn children discovered abandoned but alive.

Two foetuses were discovered in this two year period, one hidden in a milk tin and the other at the bottom of Male’s municipal swimming pool.  Another fully-developed baby was thrown into a park after having apparently been strangled with underwear tied around its neck.  The two babies found abandoned and alive have since been placed under state care.

The Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) has described these incidents, as well as the figures detailing an increase in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases, as evidence of a sexual health crisis in the Maldives.

Nazeera Najeeb, who leads the reproductive health unit of the CCHDC, told Minivan News in an interview earlier this year that the centre was witnessing an “alarming” increase in cases of underage and unplanned pregnancies, where some girls are getting pregnant “without even knowing it”.

“These unwanted pregnancies are subsequently resulting in more unsafe abortions, baby dumping or infanticide,” she noted.

To curb these perceived problems, Najeeb stressed the need for implementing a comprehensive sex education curriculum in and outside educational institutions to create greater awareness on sexual and reproductive health subjects.

Though the concept of sex education is widely supported by health authorities, including former Health Minister Dr Ahmed Jamsheed, efforts to implement such practices nationally have been limited.


Police investigate man’s alleged sexual assault of granddaughter

Police are investigating allegations that a 72 year-old man from Seenu Atoll sexually abused his five year-old granddaughter.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the suspect was arrested on December 2, 2010, and released three days later.

He said that the allegations against the man were made by the girl’s father, who was now separated from the mother.

“It seems like there is a family problem as both father and mother are separated,” he said.

As with any cases relating to alleged sexual assault, Shiyam said that the police would also be working with the Ministry of Gender and Family to provide support to the family.


A coffin made out of Coral stones found in Hithadhu

A coffin made out of coral stone has been found in Hithadhu of Seenu Atoll, reports Haveeru.

Haveeru reported that the coffin was found when a man dug inside an abandoned house to plant a tree.

The coffin was six feet two inches long and two feet long, reported Haveeru.

The area has now been secured by police for investigation.


Girl abducted, drugged, filmed and gang raped by 15 men on Hithadhu

A group of 15 men abducted, drugged and gang raped a 20 year old girl on the island of Hithadhu in Seenu Atoll last Friday night, while reportedly filming the incident wit a mobile phone.

Regional commander for Addu Atoll, Chief Inspector Hussein Adam, said three men had been arrested in connection with the attack, which occurred around 8:30pm on Friday night.

”Two men came by on a motorbike while she was outside her house, and forced her to sit between them,” Hussein said.

The two men took her to an uninhabited area on the island, 30 minutes walking distance from where she was abducted.

”The 15 men forced her to drink a suspected liquid drug and she became drunk,” Hussein said. ”They used box cutters to threaten her.”

Atoll Commander for Addu Adam Niyaz said police were informed of the incident at 1:00am on Saturday morning by the girl’s parents, after she returned home.

Police took the girl to Addu Regional Hospital. Hussein noted that she was “unable to walk.”

Head of Addu Regional Hospital Ahmed Mohamed said the girl was brought to the  hospital on Saturday was discharged yesterday.

”There were no injuries outside her body,” Ahmed said, ”but as she was sexually assaulted by 15 men her sex organs were injured during the incident.”

Niyaz said the three men arrested in connection with attack had many police records involving drug offences and gang-related crimes.

He said Hithadhu police station was continuing to investigate the case.