Police sweeps arresting innocents, say gang members

Police had arrested 25 gangsters in an special operation police conducted to avoid gang violence in Male’ and make the city peaceful.

In a press conference yesterday, police noted that gangsters in Male’ were becoming more coordinated “and there has been a corresponding rise in planned and organised crime.”

Deputy commissioner of police Mohamed Rilwan revealed in a press conference yesterday that gangs had been observed adapting to police tactics and becoming more sophisticated in their approach to crime.

Rilwan said that when police raided gang areas and the houses of gang members during the recent crackdown, they found stashes of weapons and other items. These included knives, masks, mobile phones, toy guns, box cutters, watches and sunglasses.

Rilwan promised that police would make Male’ peaceful and ensure gangsters had “no more chances” to commit crime in the country.

During last week’s special operation against gang crime, police arrested 25 suspects including Ahmed Nafiz [Chika], Ahmed Rizam, Shifau Abdul Waheed [Shifa], Mohamed Ahusan [Ahu], Mohamed Aswad [Maxy], Hussein Razeen, Ahmed Shaz, Hassan Ali [Hassu], Adam Ziyad, Ahmed Husham, Ahmed Shiruhan [Shiru], Hussein Alwan, Ahsan Basheer, Ahmed Ismail [Ahandhu], Fahud Ibrahim, Fazeel Hameed, Ahmed Muaz, Rilwan Faruhath [Ilu].

Political connections

Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair expressed concern that “some of the politicians use gangsters for political reasons.”

”It is not acceptable for politicians to use any other tool than words,” he said.

He said the gang situation in the city had worsened “because of the failed educational policies of the former government.”

”I am very confident that the police will make this a peaceful city,” he said.

A gang member calling himself ‘IJ’ told Minivan News that police had arrested “many innocent people” during the special operation.

”It’s okay to arrest people who are connected with a case they are investigating,” he said, ”but it was really bad that police arrested innocent people among us.”

He said the police were “arresting anyone they feel like, and keeping them in custody for a long period of time.”

As a result, the prisoners were “given a bad reputation and encouraged to become involved in crime.”

He said that it was good that police were making Male’ peaceful, “as people are afraid to walk the streets.”

”Gangs are not afraid of the streets, the only fear for us is the police,” he said.

He said he hoped police would show professionalism when they raided more streets in Male’, “and arrest only guilty people.”

Another gang member told Minivan News that the police could not make the the streets peaceful as long as he was there.

He said the police were arresting friends of criminals, “making their parents think they were also criminals. ”

”If someone visits us to play cards and chat, police would arrest him too,” he said. ”Then people think he’s also a gangster, so he gets angry and changes himself into one.”

He claimed that they had fought police “many times. They come and disturb us even if we were sitting to chat,” he said, ”which makes us angry and want to go against them. Then they arrest all of us.”

He said the police had confiscated a lot of gang property, including sofas and chairs which they had bought.

“The gangs are not gathering to do crimes, just to sit down and chat with friends,” he said.

Sub Inspector of police Ahmed Shiyam said the police were checking and arresting anyone they suspected of gang involvement, and acknowledged that sometimes people who were not gang members had been arrested.

Even though those arrested might get bad reputations, “there is no other way due to the situation in the country,” he said.