Police reveal details of record drugs seizure

Police have released detailed information of the special operation conducted to seize 24kgs of heroin smuggled into the Maldives using an Iranian vessel last month.

A police officer implicated in the crime as well as the 11 Pakistani nationals on the Iranian vessel were among the 18 persons arrested in connection with the case.

In the statement the police said that officers involved in the operation experienced things that they had never experienced before, and it was noted that the police officers aboard the speedboat were not carrying any weapons.

Police said that officers involved in the operation first followed two Maldivians who went to Villimalé on March 4 where the Maldivian boat the ‘Violet’ was prepared to set sail to meet an Iranian vessel which had journeyed from Chahabar, Iran.

When the two Maldivians reached the boat docked in Villimalé harbour, the boat captain and three expats working on board had already made all preparations to set sail towards North Ari atoll at around 3:30pm.

Police officers were assigned to follow the ‘Violet’ on a gulf craft speedboat as it left Malé with intercepted communications revealing that the Maldivian boat planned to meet with the Iranian craft at 11pm that evening.

The boat reached North Ari atoll at 6:15pm, stopping in the ocean between Rasdhoo and Mathiveri, before making its first trip to meet the Iranian vessel at 3:30am in the morning.

According to police, the meeting point of the Iranian vessel and the ‘Violet’ was 30 nautical miles north of North Ari atoll. The Maldivian boat travelled outside the EEZ of the Maldives in heavy rain and rough seas with the police speedboat following throughout.

When the ‘Violet’ reached the meeting point, its crew was informed that the Iranian ship was still 450 miles away from the meeting point, and that they will take 56 hours to get there. The ‘Violet’ subsequently returned to North Ari atoll.

Police said the two men police originally followed subsequently returned to Malé, contacting their agent in Iran at 11:30pm to get details regarding the next attempted rendezvous.

The following day, as the ‘Violet’ refueled in preparation for its second trip to meet the Iranian vessel, the two Maldivians suspects attempted to transfer money to agents in Iran.

Police have revealed that the money was transferred by a member of the Maldives Police Service who has subsequently been arrested in connection with the case.

The next day ‘Violet’ travelled on the same route as before, again stopping between Ukulhas and Mathiveri, before being contacted at 12:45am by the Iranian ship which explained that it was 200 miles from the meeting point.

After receiving this news, the Maldivian boat travelled towards Baa Atoll – outside Maldivian territorial waters – and waited there until the Iranian vessel informed the crew that the drugs were hidden inside a small dingy in the Iranian vessel.

The following day (March 9) the Maldivian vessel reached the meeting point, but again had to wait for the Iranian vessel to get there the next morning.

When the two boats met the the Maldivian boat took a small dingy released by the Iranian vessel and began its trip back to Malé late in the afternoon of March 10, the police statement said.

Upon their arrival in Hulhumale’ that evening, all aboard ‘Violet’ were arrested and the drugs seized.

After collecting enough information to begin the operation, police assigned 16 officers to follow ‘Violet’: five intelligence officers were based in Mathiveri Island, a surveillance team consisting on seven officers was created.

Eight intelligence officers were assigned as a ground analysis team, and a further five were assigned as ground technical team. Three intelligence officers were assigned as covert team and two others were used to trace communications, the police statement revealed.


Police arrest MDP activist accused of vandalism during protest

Police have arrested a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activist on allegations that he had vandalised a CCTV camera on Chandhanee Magu and attacked a police officer during an MDP protest on October 5.

In a statement, police said that Kamil Ibrahim of Beach Rest house in Ukulhas North Ari Atoll, was arrested yesterday (2 October) at around 11:30pm in a special operation conducted by the police, while he was staying at a house named Bahurein in Maafannu ward.

Police said that on October 5, Kamil Ibrahim broke through the police barricades and entered the green zone, vandalized a police CCTV camera installed in the junction where Chandhanee Magu and Orchid Magu meets and attacked a police officer in the area after threatening several police officers using a weapon and attempting to assault police officers.

Police said that the special operation was conducted after intelligence received information that Kamil was hiding in the house.

It was also revealed that two other men, suspected of being accomplices in hiding Kamil, have been sent summon chits to produce themselves to the police headquarters.

On October 13, police had issued a statement warning that legal action will be taken against anyone who assists Kamil Ibrahim in hiding from police.

On October 5, the MDP held a large protest calling for immediate elections. The meeting was attended by several senior MDP members and MPs including vice presidential candidate Dr Mustafa Lutfi, Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik and MPs Imthiyaz Fahmy, Ahmed Rasheed, Ahmed Sameer, Mohamed Shifaz, Mohamed Gasam and Ahmed Easa

The following day police issued a statement announcing that 12 MDP activists were arrested on charges of assaulting police officers, disobeying police orders, and obstructing police duties.


Police arrest 57 year-old man on charges of performing black magic

Police have arrested a 57 year-old man on the island of Kurinbee in Haa Alifu Atoll on suspicion of performing black magic on the island.

An online newspaper based in Kurinbee, ‘touchwithkurinbee’, identified the man as Adam from the island of Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

The paper reported that police obtained a search warrant from Kurinbee Court and searched the house he was staying in, discovering books and documents related to black magic.

According to the paper, Adam refused to hand over some documents and books to the police and kept telling them that he was not performing black magic, claiming that he had only practiced sorcery for medical purposes.

Ten days prior to the man’s arrest posters began appearing on walls around of Kurinbee issuing warnings that ‘’a sorcerer has been coming to Kurinbee and if he comes again his two legs will be broken.’’

On January 8, the body of 76 year-old man identified as Ali Hassan was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned home on Kudahuvadhoo.

The man was later found to have been murdered by a group of young islanders alleging he had murdered the mother of one of the group using black magic.

More recently, the island council on Ukulhas in North Ari Atoll alleged that a tree inside the school was possessed by evil spirits forced to live there because the school was under a spell, after female students at the school suddenly  fainted.


School calls in spiritual healer after 10 female students “possessed by spirits”

A school on the island of Ukulhas in North Ari Atoll has been closed down after a class of 10 female eighth grade students collectively fainted at 10:30am this morning and were hospitalised.

Ukulhas Island Council Vice President Abdulla Firaq told Minivan News the girls were behaving as if “possessed by spirits”.

“They are hurting themselves, making faces and doing all sorts of things that people do when people are possessed by spirits,’’ he said.

“The female students have been experiencing difficulties such as headaches, stomachaches and dizziness inside the school since last week,” Firaq said.

The school brought in a spiritual healer to investigate the mysterious symptoms, Firaq said.

“Two days ago a spiritual healer was brought to the school to see what was going on and today all the female students in the eighth grade fainted at the same time.”

Firaq said some other students in the school were “mentally affected” and also fainted after seeing the eighth grade students do the same, but added that these students had been admitted to the island hospital and were now back to normal.

Firaq told Minivan News that the spirits talked to the spiritual healer through the possessed students, telling the healer that the  students were damaging the oleander trees inside the school grounds which were their homes.

“The spirits told the healer that they were forced to live inside the school grounds because of a spell cast on the school by a sorcerer four years ago,” Firaq said.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that 10 students on the island of Ukulhas in Alif Alif Atoll had all been hospitalised after fainting this morning.

Haneef added that police were currently investigating the matter. Asked about the nature of these investigations, the police service would not confirm whether the case involved sorcery, known locally as ‘fandita’.

“It’s something like that,” Haneef said.