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.


Comment: Is youth unemployment a lack of intellectual management?

Suhaila has been looking for a job for a long time. As typical of many young Maldives, her basic education consisted of GCE O-levels and a foundation program in an American College in Sri Lanka, which was inadequate for her to get employed.

Like many youth, maybe she did not know how to go about finding a job, or maybe her applications did not show her capabilities that convinced potential employers.

She wanted to work in the travel industry, and applied to a few airline agencies. Suhaila is a pretty girl, though far from the ‘catwalk model’ type of girl. Her greatest asset was her kind, helpful and sunny nature combined with a high sense of responsibility, eagerness to work and a positive attitude.

Over two years, she received two responses to her many applications. Both times the interviewers told her that they looked for pretty and slim girls as they would be working in the front line at the reservation desks.

Early this year, Suhaila she was offered a job with training in a new airline ticket reservation agency. The agency is owned by well-known names in Male’, and a few veterans with years of experience in well-known airlines operating in Maldives. Suhaila was confident that this would be a good place to work because of the shareholders.

After a mutual agreement, she travelled to Sri Lanka with another local girl and a boy as well as two of the business shareholders. They arrived late at night.

Around 1.30am, the girls got a call from the two men asking if they wish to go for dinner. Even though Suhaila felt it was considerate of her bosses to think they may be hungry after travelling so long, Suhaila declined, but the other girl went because she was not sure what was expected of her as an employee.

One evening they invited the girls to go clubbing which Suhaila declined. During the training, the guys turned up at the training venue and ask the girls to go shopping with them. Two days later, one of the guys asked Suhaila her family background. Suhaila told him who her mother and father were. Suhaila was not asked to go out with them anymore.

Upon completion of the training and start of work, Suhaila requested to sign her contract. She was told that they did not sign contracts. Her salary was fixed, and her work was ticketing and reservations. She found herself training newcomers, closing sales and doing ‘favors’.

Favors meant that she should re-open sales after closing because owners of the company wanted to issue tickets for friends and favorites. It also meant that Suhaila was expected to come and issue a ticket for company owners even up to midnight hours. It meant that regardless of how inconvenient it was to Suhaila in her personal time, she was expected to come out and work as they were her bosses. She had neither a job description nor clear work guidelines.

What was most bewildering to Suhaila was the confusion she experienced in the conflicting rules of the company owners. If one owner decided the working hours, the other told the staff a different opening and closing time. If one owner decided a ticket could be issued to a foreign worker without a work permit, the other would insist it be issued because it is business for them. The owners spoke at different times but over each other’s authority.

As some staff left out of frustration, a Sri Lankan girl was brought in and Suhaila was asked to train and orient her. Then one day, Suhaila was asked to deal with the salary sheets. She discovered that the foreign girl was earning US$500 as salary and receiving food, accommodation and medicals on top of it. She found out that the Sri Lankan girl got a holiday ticket paid to go and come back. Suhaila’s salary was Rf 3500 (US$272) and no other allowances.

A couple of month’s frustration was followed by her final decision to resign. The daughter of one of the owners’ running the show called for a staff meeting to try and understand the issues at hand. There were no changes in spite of the meeting except that the staff stayed a couple more months hoping something would happen. Finally Suhaila handed in her resignation. The owners expressed regret that Suhaila was leaving them as she was a very good worker. However, concluding that, one of the shareholders’ said they would never hire local staff but employ Sri Lankans who were easier to manage.

Is youth unemployment an issue of lack of intellectual social management?

The story above brings out many issues in the employment of young Maldivians and especially for girls. Instead of seeing youth as an asset to social development, social reality is a growing population of unemployed youth being the victim of social disorder. The problem occurs in a vicious circle where poverty, unemployment, crime, drugs, poor schooling, inadequate housing, broken and dysfunctional families, etc, where each one is the cause and each one is the effect. The future is explosive and a serious threat to social equilibrium as Maldives fails to give hope and social assurance to its youth.

Today the youth in Maldives is seen a liability, a major stumbling block in the transitional democracy, and looked upon as a social burden, their energy and vibrancy diminishing at an increasing rate. Who should be the creator of the conditions that will turn youth into assets? The government is no doubt the caretaker and has a very tough responsibility to fulfill. The pressure of this responsibility is to make the youth of this country economically independent and self-reliant.

It is not an easy task because it means making private entrepreneurs more responsible citizens first. Although the previous government was the major employer of its citizens as compared to the private sector employment in Maldives, it is not a sustainable function for the government, and the state is not responsible for creating jobs. It is responsible for creating a climate where jobs will be created, and it is responsible to take a proactive and not a reactive step to encourage entrepreneurial development for the purpose of economic and social benefit.

Small and medium businesses continue to be collectively the major employer in the developed countries. What falls under the government’s responsibility is to encourage and motivate the job creators, support capacity building, create legislations that nurtures social values, create aggressive alliances with the civil society, be in continuous dialogue with all the different development sectors and demonstrate faith in the Maldivian youth, give them respect, direction and a consistent message that they are part and parcel of the Maldivian Society.

Aminath Arif is the founder of SALAAM School

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


Police arrest man on Noonu Atoll for sexually abusing daughter

A man has been arrested in Noonu Atoll for alleged sexual abuse of his 15 year-old daughter.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that a man was arrested in Noonu Atoll on charges of sexual abuse.

He said that further information could not be provided at the moment.

However, a person familiar with the matter told Minivan News that the case had been reported and the girl was being examined by police. He claimed the arrested person was the girl’s father, and that he had been charged with molestation.

The source claimed the girl’s boyfriend had secretly “gathered evidence” that the abuse was occurring before presenting it to her and assisting her in reporting it to the police.

The abuse had been occurring for some time, the source claimed.


Filladhoo islanders horrified after youths record nude footage in bathrooms

The Maldives Police Service have arrested three youths on Filladhoo in Haa Alif Atoll after they allegedly recorded and released explicit footage of islanders bathing with spy cameras.

Haveeru reported islanders as telling police that the suspects had deliberately targeted adolescent girls at the local school, with one of the videos reportedly showing a 17 year old girl having a shower.

“The school students are really scared. No one is sure whether there is not a nude video of him or her,” an islander told Haveeru. “This is not something people should do. Some are not even going out of their homes because they are ashamed.”

The bathrooms of many local houses on islands are traditionally unroofed, however the incident has reportedly led to a number of islanders trying to roof their bathrooms.

The three youths were arrested after nude videos of girls from the island were found on a hard disk.

One Filladhoo resident told Haveeru that “we are lucky that we do not have a girl in our house.”


18 year-old sentenced to one year’s prison for entering room of under-age girl

The Criminal Court has sentenced an 18 year-old boy for entering the room of a 13 year-old girl with the intention of having sex with her, reports SunFM.

The radio station reported that the 18 year-old man was charged for “staying in isolation” with an under-aged girl, with the intention of having sex with her.

The accused denied the charges in court and claimed that it was a set-up by the girl’s mother.

According to SunFM, the boy claimed the girl’s mother phoned him through the girl’s phone, and invited him to come over before reporting him to police.

However, the Criminal Court declared that although the 18 year-old claimed he entered the girl’s room with her consent, she was not of an age that could give consent to do such an activity.


Coco Palm hosting Miss France 2011 beauty pageant

Luxury Maldives resort Coco Palm Bodu Hithi will host the filming of the prestigious Miss France 2011 beauty
pageant in November 2010.

The 38 contestants from various regions and overseas territories of France will sample various aspects of Maldivian culture during their visit, the resort said in a statement.

The Miss France contest has been held since 1920 and is considered to be one of the biggest TV events in France, the statement claimed.

“The tremendous coverage that Maldives as a destination will receive throughout France and central Europe is bound to give a significant boost to the whole nation as well as the Coco Collection,” the resort said.

The Coco Collection is the luxury division of Sunland Hotels, a Maldivian owned company.


Abortion in the Maldives: the untold story

When the strip on the pregnancy test turned pink, 23-year-old Mustafa asked his girlfriend to marry him. Not because he wanted to, but because he believed it was the right thing to do.

She said no.

Aminath, who was 19, replied she was too young to have a child. And so, he told her he would “fix it”.

A few days later, Mustafa learned of a man who charged Rf2,000 (US$155) to perform an abortion. Reassured by two friends who had used him, he set up an appointment in Male’.

“The man gave her three injections and said that within one to four hours, she would start to bleed and it would be very painful and it would be like giving birth,” says Mustafa, his frail voice quivering.

“At this point I was having serious doubts about this guy. He wasn’t a doctor… he was boasting about his abortion activities and the number of girls he had done this to. He said at one point it was almost one every night. The way he said it was without a trace of compassion.”

Mustafa’s description of what followed is harrowing: Aminath was carried back and forth to the toilet, she threw up twice and was writhing in agony. Four hours later, she began to bleed.

As a Muslim country, abortion is illegal in the Maldives except to save a mother’s life, or if a child suffers from a congenital defect such as thalassemia. But anecdotal evidence points overwhelmingly to a high rate of abortion.

“I can count seven of my friends, three girls and four boys. The story was the same,” says Mustafa.

Statistical vacuum

There is scant information available on abortion in the Maldives. No research on the subject has ever been commissioned. But, says Fathimath, 40, a social researcher on youth and women, other statistics indicated that abortion was prevalent.

She points to the discrepancy between the decline in the fertility rate and the low rate of contraceptive use – an estimated 39 per cent – which raised important questions that remained unanswered.

Halfway through the conversation, Fathimath says she herself has terminated two pregnancies. The first time she was 20 and a newlywed. She had been given the opportunity to study in the UK and felt her pregnancy was ill-timed. Her second abortion was more recent: her husband had been cheating on her when she found out she was pregnant.

“At that time, I wasn’t emotionally capable of having a child,” says Fathimath, who had both of her abortions abroad.

The only tidbit of official information that exists comes from the Reproductive Health Survey conducted in 2004. The survey found that despite the absence of reliable data, it was likely that unsafe abortions could be a cause for concern. Three years later, an unofficial report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reached a similar conclusion.

Interviews with four demographically-diverse focus groups revealed that induced abortions were common among women and girls in Male’ with most ostensibly taking place in unsafe circumstances.

But, the IPPF never obtained government permission to carry out the study and because of the qualitative nature of its research, its findings were never acknowledged or made public, says Fathimath.

The report found that the stigma of having a child out of wedlock compels women and girls to opt for abortions. Two focus groups of unmarried boys and girls asserted that abortion was widespread. Some said they knew of girls as young as 12 who had undergone abortions and each knew at least one person who had terminated a pregnancy.

The discussions further revealed that while abortion was more common among unmarried youth, it was still widespread among married couples. Even within marriage, an optimal family size, economic hardship, infidelity, domestic violence, contraceptive failures and unexpected pregnancy in older women were factors that contributed to the decision.

In one interview, the IPPF spoke to a 37-year-old woman from a poor socio-economic background whose husband suggested she have an abortion. He procured and administered the injections but soon after, the woman fell sick and began to bleed profusely. She consulted a doctor and discovered the baby was still alive; she had to travel to India for a safe abortion.

Honour killings

For those who can afford it, travelling to India or Sri Lanka is an option. But in neighbouring Sri Lanka, where abortion is illegal, the operation is performed by unskilled individuals in unhygienic settings.

One unmarried woman interviewed by the IPPF travelled to an abortion clinic in Sri Lanka when she was 31.

She said she remembered hearing the sound of women crying and the stench of blood. The abortion was carried out on a soiled bed and she was not anaesthetised.

“I felt like a piece of meat; I couldn’t help crying throughout [the process],” she said. Once the abortion was over, she was ordered out of the room despite not being able to physically move.

For those like Mustafa who cannot pay to go abroad, the alternatives are bleak. Abortion-inducing pills and injections administered by amateur abortionists are one recourse while others turn to harmful vaginal preparations, containing chemicals such as bleach or kerosene. Although infrequent, some insert objects into their uterus or induce abdominal trauma.

“It’s difficult to name names but I know prominent women who have had multiple abortions,” says Aishath Velazinee, a well-known campaigner for human rights.

“If a daughter gets pregnant, parents would rather have an abortion,” she says, referring to the shame of pregnancy outside of marriage. “I think it’s appropriate to call these abortions honour killings.”


Using the information gleaned from the focus groups, IPPF concluded that widespread premarital and extramarital sex, high rates of divorce and remarriage (including sex between marriages), and poor access and practice of contraception could lead to a high number of unwanted pregnancies.

All four groups said that despite being illegal, sex outside of marriage was commonplace, especially among young people. Nor was it uncommon for married men to have affairs with unmarried girls.

But disturbingly, the focus groups said that couples preferred not to use contraception. Among the reasons offered included a reluctance to use condoms.

For some, the IPPF discovered, having an abortion was itself a form of contraception. One girl said: “When abortions can be obtained without much difficulty, young people do not want to use contraceptives as those take away the pleasure.”

Under the form of sharia law practiced in the Maldives, both sex before marriage and adultery are offences punishable by flogging. But attitudes towards sex reveal a discrepancy. While it is acknowledged in private that both take place, social norms and cultural attitudes restrict public discussions on the subject. As a result, students are not taught about contraception at school as for many this would be tantamount to condoning sex outside of marriage.

Government policy

Nazeera Najeeb, head of the population division in the health ministry, stressed that it was difficult to grasp the extent of the problem in the absence of official statistics.

“Without that it’s difficult to say exactly what’s happening,” she says.

The health ministry has plans to conduct research into abortion in the Maldives and educate the public about the health risks involved, she says.

“We are trying to create awareness on the disadvantages. At present we are trying to develop some mass media programmes.”

The list of potential health complications associated with unsafe abortion rolled off by Nazeera makes for grim reading: reproductive health infections, infertility, septicaemia, shock and even death.

While students could not be taught about contraception at school, they could be alerted to the dangers of unsafe abortion, she said. In addition, the health ministry could redouble its efforts to promote contraception among married couples.

For Velazinee, however, as long as the government continues to shy away from the sensitive issues that surround abortion, couples will continue to find themselves in the same quandary.

As with the drug epidemic, only government policies that addressed the real picture would help break the taboo, and thus, move the country towards finding a solution, she says. Until a shift in policy-making occurred, she adds, society will continue to be marked by a dualism: a public facade that does not reflect the private sphere.

“We gear policy to the normative standards of being a 100 per cent Muslim country rather than the reality. The government doesn’t want to publicise the availability of contraception for fear the move will be misinterpreted. They don’t want to acknowledge these issues, but the reality is that these things happen.”

The names of all those who have spoken about their personal experiences involving abortion have been changed.