Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, five MNDF officers dismissed

The Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) has dismissed six soldiers including former head of military intelligence Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam.

In a statement on Tuesday, the MNDF said Nilam had been demoted from the post of Brigadier General and dismissed for “violating MNDF duties and disciplinary norms, repeating acts that should not be seen from an MNDF officer, revealing secret information against military regulations, diminishing the honor of the MNDF, and sowing discord in the military.”

Nilam was suspended in January after he told the People’s Majlis Government Oversight Committee that he believed the transfer of power in February 2012 had all the academic characteristics of a coup d’état.

A separate MNDF statement said First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef, Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed and Staff Sergeant Ibrahim Ali had been dismissed for breaching MNDF’s duties and responsibilities.

Further, Staff Sergeant Hassan Hameed had been dismissed for disciplinary offenses and Lance Corporal Shahrab Rashid for leaking secret MNDF documents.

All six soldiers had previously been suspended on charges of sowing discord in the military.

Speaking at a ceremony to unveil the MNDF’s strategic action plan held last night, Chief of Defense Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam called for “100 percent loyalty” from the MNDF.

“Soldiers must have absolute loyalty. Every single man and women working in this institution must have this characteristic. Otherwise, they are lacking the most important characteristic of a soldier,” Shiyam said.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ahmed Nazim appealed to all soldiers to stay away from ideological warfare and to remain steadfast in evading attempts to sow discord among soldiers.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has condemned the “unlawful” dismissal of the six officers “on baseless allegations.”

The party said it accepted the military’s work in upholding the constitution and working to resolve the political turmoil following the annulment, cancellations and delays in presidential polls.

Following the Supreme Court order to delay run-off polls pending a verdict in a case to annul the first round of presidential election held on September 7, 17 high ranking MNDF officers sent a letter expressing concern over politicization of the military and possible repercussions should a president-elect not be determined by the end of the presidential term.

The MNDF then amended its regulations to punish officers who promoted “upheaval and chaos” and Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal was subsequently removed from his position as the Commandant of Training and Doctrine.

Shareef, Waheed and Shahrab were suspended from service.

As the prospects of electing a president by the end of the presidential term on November 11 dimmed, 73 mid-ranking officers circulated an appeal calling on fellow soldiers not to obey any “unlawful” orders issued by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan or his political appointees.

Sergeant Hassan Hameed was then detained on the MNDF training facility at Girifushi Island.

The MDP has said the “politically motivated dismissal of soldiers who have served the state for long periods of time will only weaken the institution.”

According to local media reports, First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef had served in the MNDF for eight years, Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed for 30 years, Staff Sergeant Ibrahim Ali for 18 years, Staff Sergeant Hassan Hameed for 19 years and Lance Corporal Shahrab Rashid for 14 years.

Ali Ibrahim had served as body guard to former First Lady Laila Ali during President Mohamed Nasheed’s tenure and Shahrab Rashid had served as bodyguard to Nasheed’s running mate Dr Musthafa Luthfy in the 2013 presidential polls.