Police find handmade gun in Gan woods

The Maldives Police Services have uncovered a handmade gun hidden in the woods of Laamu Atoll Gan Island.

The improvised firearm was found on February 12, the police said in a statement last night. No arrests have been made yet.

Gan is the largest island in the Maldives, but has a population of only 3,543 people. Large areas of the island remain uninhabited.

In Septmber 2013, two men were charged with terrorism over handmade weapons found in a Malé workshop. The Criminal Court has held a first hearing into the case, the Prosecutor General’s office confirmed today.

According to Haveeru, the police had found an improvised pistol, a sniper rifle and a mine during the raid. The operation was carried out on a tipoff that residents of the house were planning to depart on jihad to Syria. But Haveeru claims there is no evidence to suggest the suspects were attempting to leave the country.

The Anti- Terrorism Act bars Maldivians from possessing firearms and explosive devices. The offense carries a jail term between 10 and 15 years.

In January, Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed said there were over 50 Maldivians fighting in foreign wars.

In 2007, a home made bomb was set off at Sultan Park injuring twelve tourists, including eight from China, two from Britain and two from Japan. The blast was triggered using a mobile phone and washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder.

Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim is currently in jail on suspicion of terrorism and treason after the police discovered a pistol and live bullets during a midnight raid on January 18.

Nazim was subsequently dismissed from his ministerial post. The police later claimed to also have found an improvised explosive device at Nazim’s house.

He was arrested on midnight on February 10. The Criminal Court the next day extended his remand for 15 days.

The police have since accused Nazim of plotting to overthrow the government and harm senior government officials.

Nazim’s lawyers claim the former minister is being framed and have said the firearms were planted.

Related to this story

PIC investigating Nazim’s complaint against Police Commissioner

Police accuse Nazim of plotting coup, planning to harm senior government officials

Suspect in 2007 Sultan Park bombing arrested after arriving from Pakistan


Malé City Council helpless as housing ministry takes over all land, public services staff

The housing ministry has taken control of 13 plots of land belonging to the opposition dominated Malé City Council, and transferred the majority of the council’s public services division staff to the ministry.

According to a housing ministry announcement, all of Malé City’s streets, the Artificial Beach area, Plot 211, Usfasgandu, the T-Jetty area, Dharubaaruge Convention Center, Sultan Park, Maafannu round-about, Adi Park, Alimas Carnival, Fishermen’s Park and all other parks now belong to the ministry.

Any individual wishing to make use of these lands must now seek permits from the ministry. The State Electric Company (STELCO) and Maldives Police Services would not provide services for any events unless a housing ministry permit is obtained, the announcement said.

The move continues a steady removal of powers from the council, in what has been characterised by its officials as an attempt to destroy decentralisation in the country.

Malé City Mayor Mohamed Shihab has condemned the government’s systematic abrogation of the council’s powers and said it constituted a breach of the powers afforded to the council under the Constitution and the Decentralisation Act.

“We are now only in charge of facilitating construction in Malé, issuing death and birth certificates and cleaning mosques. But the constitution clearly states the Maldives must be administered through decentralised councils,” he said.

The government must respect Maldivian laws to attain development, he contended.

“The powerful are now abusing their powers in the Maldives. This is very sad. Ultimately, it is the ordinary Maldivian citizen who will suffer the most. Investors will not invest here. No one knows what will happen tomorrow or the day after. We have to uphold the law if we want to develop at the same levels as developing countries,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Shifa Mohamed said the council has challenged the transfer of council staff to the housing ministry at the Civil Court.

In addition to transferring council staff, the ministry had also illegally taken over the council’s assets, including dustbins and trees for a greening programme, in the public services section, she said.

Shifa has described the government’s actions as a plot “to destroy decentralization”.

On November 26, the council declared it was close to shut-down after the Maldives Police Services confiscated documents and computer systems at the Malé City Council offices under a court warrant on allegations of corruption.

The warrant, signed by the Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, said that “some council staff had shared and gained unlawful advantages from some PDF files sent to the council by Maldives Land and Survey Authority.”

The survey authority and the land registration project fall under the authority of the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure.

The council has denied receiving such files, stating that any surveys on Malé lands would have originated from the council.

The cabinet in early November announced it had removed the council’s jurisdiction over the city’s roads after disagreements over the replanting of vandalised trees.

Opposition leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed has said the trees were uprooted by masked policemen. Police have dismissed the claims.

Local media have since reported that the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives believes the trees were being used to curse President Abdulla Yameen.

The roads are now under the control of the housing ministry and the Maldives Road Development Corporation (MRDC) which has started cleaning the drains, bringing some alleviation to persistent flooding.

The government had suggested that the council had failed to adequately maintain both Dharubaaruge Convention Center and the roads of the capital, though the council has maintained that state funds allocated for the work was not released by the finance ministry.

The government in October also scrapped an agreement made with India–based Tatva Global Renewable Energy to provide waste management services in the capital Malé and nearby areas.

Related to this story

Malé City Council close to shut-down after police confiscate documents and server system

Newly planted areca palms uprooted on housing ministry orders

Government terminates Tatva waste management deal

Can decentralisation take root in the Maldives?


Rising extremism could threaten Maldives’ tourism industry: report

Religious conservatism and extremist violence have been increasing in the Maldives over the past decade, while incidents of Maldivians joining overseas jihadist groups are becoming more common, according to a report published in the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) Sentinel, a publication based out of the West Point military academy in the US.

The article entitled The Threat from Rising Extremism in the Maldives, observes that growing religious extremism and political uncertainty could result in more violence and negatively affect the nation’s tourism industry, which would be “devastating” to the Maldives.

“This has coincided with a number of violent attacks on liberal activists and other citizens who have expressed outspoken support for moderate religious practices,” the report notes.

If current trends continue “extremist incidents may rise, with violence targeted against the country’s more liberal citizens,” it states.

According to the report, five key factors have contributed to the growing extremism and violence:

  • the encouragement of  “more hard line Islamist elements in the country” during the 30 year autocratic rule of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom;
  • political uncertainty;
  • an increasing number of people seeking education in foreign madrasas;
  • grassroots radicalisation through civil society and political parties;
  • escalating extremist incidents of violence and involvement with jihadist groups.

“The country has already suffered one terrorist attack targeting foreign tourists, and a number of Maldivians have traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to receive jihadist training. Moreover, evidence exists that jihadists tried to form a terrorist group in the country in 2007-2008,” the report states.

The study recommends that Maldivian political and religious developments be followed closely.

Encouraging of hard line Islamic elements

Islam was introduced to the Maldives in the 12th century and subsequent religious practices have been the “moderate, more liberal form of the religion”.

“Yet, during Gayoom’s three decade autocratic rule, the Egyptian-trained religious scholar enacted a number of measures that, at least inadvertently, encouraged more hard line Islamist elements in the country,” the report concluded.

“From imposing a ban on Christian missionary radio to apprehending migrant service providers for allegedly preaching and practicing their own religion, Gayoom’s regime initiated an era of state-backed religious intolerance and radicalisation in the Maldives.”

The Protection of Religious Unity Act, passed in 1994, mandated that no other religion but Islam could be practiced.

In 1996, Gayoom constituted the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, renamed the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in 2008, to preside over religious affairs in the Maldives.

“This body of clerics pressured the government to carry out moral and cultural policing of alleged “anti-Islamic activities”,” the report states.

For example, in 2008 the Ministry requested police “ban nightclubs and discotheques for New Year’s Eve celebrations because they were contrary to Islam”.

“By the end of Gayoom’s time in office in 2008, the dress code for women had grown increasingly conservative, and more and more men grew out their beards,” the report states.

Women now dress more conservatively with fewer brightly colored clothes. Instead they “increasingly wear black robes and headscarves and on more conservative islands such as Himandhoo, women wear black abayas and face veils,” it added.

Political uncertainty

The democratic transition “gave a greater voice to religious conservatives and those calling for the rigid implementation of Shari`a (Islamic law) in the Maldives,” states the report. “This became especially evident following the implementation of political reforms and the transition to multi-party democracy in 2008.”

The first democratic presidential elections in the Maldives were held in 2008, with Mohamed Nasheed defeating Gayoom in the second round with 54 percent of the votes.

However, the Nasheed administration was accused of defiling Islam by “promoting Western ideals and culture and restricted the spread of more austere Islamic practices,” the article notes.

This resulted in the December 2011 “Defend Islam” protests led by opposition political parties, religious groups, civil society organisations and thousands of supporters in the country’s capital, Male’.

These protests “unleashed a chain of events that culminated in a bloodless coup on February 7, 2012 that toppled the Maldives’ first democratically-elected government,” declared the study.

Appeal of education in foreign madrasas

Education in foreign madrasas has also contributed to growing extremism within the Maldives, with students “unwittingly attending more radical madrasas” and preaching these views upon their return.

“The offer of free education in madrasas in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is widely acknowledged as a core means of radicalising Maldivians locally, with well-meaning parents sending their children off on scholarships to ‘study Islam’,” the report states.

Following the 2007 terrorist attack in Male’s Sultan Park, “Gayoom himself warned of this problem”.

“Maldivians are influenced by what is happening in the world. They go to Pakistan, study in madrasas and come back with extreme religious ideas,” the report quoted Gayoom as saying.

Grassroots radicalisation

“The contemporary Maldivian political environment favors radical and political Islam taking root in Maldivian society, especially when political parties and civil society increasingly take refuge in religion,” the report states, citing Maldivian academic Dr Azra Naseem.

In 2010, new regulations prohibited “talking about religions other than Islam in Maldives, and propagating such religions through the use of any kind of medium.” The Ministry of Islamic Affairs published this legislation under the Protection of Religious Unity Act of 1994.

However, the report found that the “major force behind more austere religious practices in the Maldives is the Adhaalath (Justice) Party (AP), which has controlled the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, with Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed as its current minister”.

Given that the AP supports strict implementation of Shari’a Law, the party has “outspokenly argued that music and singing are haram (forbidden) and called for an end to the sale of alcohol at the country’s hundreds of luxury resorts,” said the report.

In February 2013, Saeed warned that “various Christian organisations and missionaries are strongly involved and active in our society because they want to ‘wipe out’ Islam from the Maldives”. He subsequently started a campaign against Christians and “Freemasons”, the report stated.

Two non-government organisations (NGOs), Jamiyyathu Salaf (JS) and the Islamic Foundation of Maldives (IFM), are considered religiously conservative Salafists who “work with the country’s political parties to further the cause of Islamism in the Maldives,” the report stated.

Extremist incidents

Extremists have directly targeted Maldivian liberal intellectuals, writers and activists, the study notes.

“On January 3, 2011, assailants attempted to kill Aishath Velezinee, an activist fighting for the independence of the country’s justice system, by stabbing her in the back in broad daylight,” said the report.

Velezinee is a whistleblower that in 2010 identified members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) who were “conspiring with key political figures to hijack the judiciary and bring down the country’s first democratically-elected government,” the report added.

The study found that the Ministry of Islamic Affairs was “at least indirectly encouraged extremism” by initiating “crackdowns” on media outlets for anti-Islamic content.

The blog of prominent free speech and religious freedom campaigner, Khilath ‘Hilath’ Rasheed, was blocked in 2011. A month afterward, Rasheed’s skull was fractured when 10 men attacked him with stones during a peaceful rally he organised in Male’.

Rasheed was arrested a few days after the incident and jailed for 24 days for participating in the rally.

In June 2012, Rasheed was nearly killed “after extremists cut his throat open with a box cutter”.

“After the attempt on his life, Rasheed named three political leaders—Islamic Affairs Minister Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Adhaalath Party President Imran Abdulla and Jumhooree Party lawmaker Ibrahim Muttalib Shaheem – as being indirectly responsible for the attempt on his life,” the report states.

Later in 2012, the moderate religious scholar and lawmaker, Afrasheem Ali, was stabbed to death at his home in Male’. He was considered an Islamic moderate who was “outspoken in his controversial positions,” reads the report.

In February 2013, “a reporter for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-aligned Raajje TV station, Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed, was beaten unconscious with an iron bar while riding on a motorcycle near the artificial beach area of Male’,” the study added.

Previously, during the 2011 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), protesters “intolerant toward other religious and cultural symbols” damaged monuments gifted to the Maldives by Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka.

Islamic radicals on February 7 2012 also vandalised archaeological artifacts in the National Museum that were mostly ancient Hindu and Buddhist relics, destroying 99 percent of the evidence of Maldivian pre-Islamic history.


“In April 2006, a Maldivian national, Ali Jaleel, and a small group of jihadists from the Maldives attempted to travel to Pakistan to train for violent jihad in Afghanistan or Iraq,” the report reads.

While his first attempt was unsuccessful, Jaleel did eventually travel to Pakistan and “launched a suicide attack at the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters in Lahore in May 2009.”

In September 2007, Islamic extremists committed a terrorist attack in the Maldives aimed at the tourism industry.

A bomb exploded in Male’s Sultan Park and wounded 12 foreigners. The three men arrested and later jailed for the bombing confessed that their goal was to “target, attack and injure non-Muslims to fulfill jihad,” states the report.

A month following the bombing, the investigation led to Darul-Khair mosque on Himandhoo Island. However, “some 90 masked and helmeted members of the mosque confronted police, wielding wooden planks and refusing to let the police enter,” said the report.

Although the Maldivian army eventually established control, “The stand-off resulted in a number of injuries, and one police officer had his fingers cut off.” In November, a video of the mosque confrontation was posted on the al-Qa’ida-linked alEkhlaas web forum by a group called Ansar al-Mujahidin with the message “your brothers in the Maldives are calling you,” the report states.

Evidence suggests that three Maldivian jihadists planned to establish a terrorist group in the country around 2007-2008 and send members for military training in Pakistan.

“At least one of these individuals did in fact travel to Pakistan, as Yoosuf Izadhy was arrested in Pakistan’s South Waziristan Agency in March 2009, along with eight other Maldivians,” states the report.

In 2009, then-President Nasheed warned that “Maldivian people are being recruited by Taliban and they are fighting in Pakistan,” quotes the report.

“Despite its reputation as an idyllic paradise popular among Western tourists, political and religious developments in the Maldives should be monitored closely,” the report concludes.


Government feud with MCC moves to beach and park

The Housing Ministry has written to Male’ City Council (MCC) informing it that Sultan Park and the Artificial Beach areas of Male’ have been reclaimed by the government.

These areas represent two of the 32 land plots transferred from the Housing Ministry to the MCC after its establishment as part of the previous government’s decentralisation policy in 2010.

Dr Mohamed Muiz, Minister for Housing and Infrastructure, informed Sun Online that it was only the development rights that had been removed from these areas, insisting that the MCC would still be responsible for municipal services such as cleaning and maintenance.

Councillor Mohamed Abdul Kareem said that this was “proof that [the government] are politically motivated in other takeovers.”

“They are trying to take all the things handed over to the city council,” said Kareem.

The ongoing stand-off between government and MCC, which is dominated by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has been growing in intensity over the past two months.

The removal of these two areas from the council’s jurisdiction follows disputes over a number of areas in the capital which the MCC had allocated to the MDP for an ongoing series of protests. The reasons given for the jurisdictional challenges have varied in each instance.

  • March 19Lonuziyaaraiy Kolhu, “Justice Square” – The MDP camp was dismantled by security forces after a day of unrest in the capital. The government claimed illegal activities were being conducted in the area. It also claimed that the leasing of the land for political purposes was in contravention of the decentralisation act. The case remains stymied in the courts.

  • April 17Dharubaaruge Conference Centre – MCC informed that staff working at the centre would be transferred to the Housing Ministry. Police reopened the centre after the MCC locked the doors. The centre is currently still under the MCC’s jurisdiction.

  • April 18Huravee offices – The Housing Ministry informed the MCC that its staff were being evicted from their offices in the Huravee building to make way for two newly-created government ministries. The second of these ministries was  been officially introduced today. The MCC says the centre is still under its control.

  • May 9Usfasgandu – A letter in April informed the MCC that the land would be removed from their power if the MDP activities on the site were not stopped. The ministry again used the breach of the decentralisation act’s stipulations as justification for these breaches. Yesterday, the Home Ministry instructed the police to seize the area. Today, the police announced their intention to obtain a court order before taking further action.

  • May 21Artificial Beach – Government cites reclamation in order to develop the area.

  • May 21Sultan Park – Government cites “reasons of national security”.

The MCC has consistently denied the legality of these reclamations. Kareem said that the council will go to court to challenge the legality of the process of reclamation itself, rather than with regards to the individual cases, as he believes the government would prefer.

The reasons Muiz gave for today’s takeovers were the receipt of multiple requests to develop the artificial beach area and the importance of the Sultan Park area for national security.

Contrary to the development arguments cited by the Housing Ministry, Kareem argued that the MCC had intended to develop the area, something that the government did not want to see happen.

“They are trying to frighten investors”, Kareem alleged.

The importance of the area surrounding Sultan Park, mentioned as reason for the government’s takeover of this area, was highlighted by independent MP Mohamed Nasheed last month when speaking to Minivan News about a freedom of assembly bill entering the Majlis.

Nasheed stated that the unusual nature of the country meant that the area surrounding the state’s vital institutions must remain free from static protests, lest the security force’s ability to operate be jeopardised, reports Sun Online.

Dr Muiz was unavailable for additional comment when contacted by Minivan News.

Sultan Park lies on a short distance from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters and the Maldives Police Service (MPS) headquarters in Republican Square.

Both the MDP’s original “Justice Square” camp as well as the one currently threatened at Usfasgandu were leased to the party by the MCC.

Interim MDP Chairman Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik was today reported in the local media as saying that the MDP would make all of Male’ its base should the Usfasgandu area be cleared.

Kareem also reported that a petition, signed by 60 people was handed in to the Local Government Association (LGA) today criticising the MCC’s provision of services. Kareem argued that the MCC was in fact delivering services to thousands of people every day on a small budget.

Sun Online has reported that the petition criticised the council’s policy of not permitting certain religious speeches, which it argued was biased. The petitioners were also reported to have criticised the city’s maintenance of streets.

The MCC asked police to break up a speech given by Sheikh Ilyas Hussain on Friday which they argue had not been authorised.


Police raid residences of 2007 Sultan Park bomb suspect

Police have raided the home of the wife of suspected Sultan Park bomber Mohamed Ameen. The blast, five years ago, caused injury to tourists. Another former residence of the accused was raided by police. Items were confiscated during Friday’s operation, although the police have yet to reveal what they were.

“Both houses were raided to find further proof to prove his participation in the plot. Police had confiscated several items from both houses,” a police media official told Haveeru.

Ameen was abroad at the time of the explosion and was not apprehended until October 2011 when Maldivian and Sri Lankan forces combined.

Ameen was a member of the extremist group Jama’athul Muslimeen, the leader of whom died in a suicide attack on the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence in 2009.


No fresh terror fears after Male’ bombing arrest, says President’s Office

The government has said it will not amend national security measures after police last week arrested a Maldivian man suspected of involvement in a bomb attack in Male’s Sultan Park back in 2007 upon his return to the country.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that Maldivian national Iqbal Mohamed had been arrested on arrival at Male’ International Airport from Pakistan, after authorities had been alerted of his movements by the International Police Organisation Interpol.

However, the President’s Office claimed that the arrest did not impact current security practices in relation to possible wider terrorist threats in the country.

The arrest was made in connection with a homemade bomb attack in Male’ in 2007, where a device built from components such as a gas cylinder, a washing machine motor and a mobile phone exploded injuring 12 tourists – several seriously.

Shiyam told Minivan News today that although Iqbal Mohamed was believed to have been in Pakistan at the time of the bombing, he had been wanted by police as part of their ongoing investigations into the 2007 attack due to an alleged role in the plan.

“He [Mohamed] is in custody right now,” added Shiyam, who claimed the Maldives Police Service was now waiting for the Prosecutor General to present a case against the suspect ahead of any potential trial in the Maldives.

“We really don’t why has had travelled back to the Maldives, but we have now arrested him.”

Mohamed, who is the subject of a red notice issued by Interpol, drew police attention after Interpol’s Major Events Support Team (IMEST), currently operating in Sri Lanka during the Cricket World Cup, identified the suspect as he was traveling through the country back to the Maldives.

According to Interpol, red notices are a system used to keep the 188 nations that make up its members informed of arrest warrants issued by judicial authorities. Although the notices are not formal arrest warrants, the organisation said that they are used to identify individuals wanted for crimes under a national jurisdiction.

Security focus

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that he did not believe Iqbal’s return raised concerns about further potential attacks in the country.

He claimed that the country’s National Security Advisor had recently addressed the issue of religious fundamentalists after a request from the country’s Immigration Commissioner and found no additional concerns.

Zuhair added that the advisor had concluded that there was not thought to be any terror cells operating within the Maldives and claimed there was no need to further heighten national security against such threats.

The press secretary claimed that rather than facing possible arrest in a foreign country, Iqbal had perhaps returned to face more lenient sentencing that he claimed would be offered by the Maldives’ legal system.

After the attacks took place, 10 Maldivians and two foreigners were arrested in connection with the case. By December 2007, three men confessed to having roles in the bombing in court and were sentenced to 15 years prison.

According to the Attorney General’s office at the time, sixteen men had been charged under the terrorism act in relation to the Sultan Park bombing, including ten fugitives believed to be in Pakistan.

In August last year, the government had announced that it would commute the sentences of two of the three convicted terrorists found guilty of being responsible for the bombings under the Clemency Act.

The two men had their sentences changed from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under strict observation.

By comparison, Zuhair pointed to the case of nine Maldivian nationals that were arrested back in 2009 after allegedly being found carrying weapons near the Pakistani-Afghan border, who were facing strict punishments for their alleged offences.

Last April, as the Maldives and India was working on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding joint counter-terrorism measures, press reports in the country began surfacing claiming that concerns had grown over the likelihood that groups like Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba may have a foothold in the country.

The claims have not been officially confirmed and no serious attacks have occurred since the 2007 bombing.


Government decreases sentences of Sultan Park bombers under Clemency Act

The government has confirmed it has commuted the sentences of two of the three convicted terrorists responsible for the 2007 bombing of Sultans Park in Male’, under the Clemency Act.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said the pair, identified by local media as Ahmed Naseer and Mohamed Sobah, were “not granted clemency, but had their sentences decreased.”

The two men had their sentences changed from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under observation.

”Their punishment was delayed by the lawful offering of a suspended punishment,” said Zuhair, indicating that “they will be well observed.”

Naseer and Sobah were convicted for 15 years on charges of terrorism, ”but they were not the people who were in charge of doing this, they did not having the highest involvement,” Zuhair said.

He added that the government wished to “provide an opportunity for everyone to be involved in the society, and the opportunity to rehabilitate and recover.”

The bomb attack near the Sultan Park was the first such incident to occur in the Maldives and received widespread publicity around the globe, damaging the tourism industry.

The incident occurred on September 29 2007 in Sultans Park,  near the Islamic Centre.

The homemade bomb, which consisted of a gas cylinder, a washing machine motor and a mobile phone, injured 12 foreign tourists several seriously.

The tourists hurt included eight from China, two from Britain, and two from Japan.

10 Maldivians and two foreigners were arrested in connection with the case, and in December that year three men confessed in court and were sentenced to 15 years prison.


Two-time escaped convict apprehended on ‘Garbage Island’

Police have apprehended an escaped convict from Maafushi jail, who escaped midway through last year.

Abdulla Ali Maniku from Bahaaruge Haa Alif Molhadhoo had been on the run since 17 June 2009.

The 37 year-old was originally arrested and charged for his part in the clashes between religious extremists and security forces on Alif Alif Himandhoo on 7 October 2007.

Police said Maniku also escaped from the jail early last year, when he was caught in Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo. While being transported back to Male’ he again gave the authorities the slip by jumping into the ocean near the island of Vaavu Felidhoo.

He was recaptured on 4 January on Kaafu Thilafushi, a heavily industrialised island seven kilometres west of Male’ known colloquially as ‘Garbage Island’.

In 2007, the government cracked down on religious extremism after a home-made bomb exploded in front of Sultan Park in Male’ on 1 October. The attack injured 12 tourists.

After the attack, police arrested ten suspects. A week later, more than 100 security personal searched the island of Himandhoo for people suspected to be linked with the attack.

The police and many of Himandhoo’s residents clashed violently, leaving many injured on both sides. More than 50 people were arrested and taken to Male’ for questioning.

Ali Maniku is currently being held by the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS).


State charge man of hiding Moosa Inaz

A man has been been charged for hiding fugitive Moosa Inaz, who was convicted for his part in the 2007 Sultan Park explosions.

Ahmed Jihad of M. Liyaage, is charged for hiding Inaz in his room. Inaz allegedly gave the authorities the slip while on a visit to ADK hospital.

Police said Inaz then hid in Jihad’s room, and that Jihad lied to police when they came looking for him.

Jihad had denied the charge of hiding a fugitive and has requested a lawyer.

Police said Inaz has a past history of escaping from authorities, managing to do so from both Maafushi jail and Dhoonidhoo jail.