Police starts investigating case of dead body found at a Villimalé home

The Maldives Police Services has started investigating the case of a dead body found in a Villimalé home yesterday (January 27).

A police press statement read that they have started investigating a case of a 38-year-old dead man found at V. Hevaa yesterday at around 5.35pm.

The statement said that, upon receiving information of a man having collapsed, police arrived on scene and took the man to the health center, where doctors confirmed that he was dead.

An investigation team from the police’s serious and organised crime department found items believed to be drugs and syringes at the scene, read the statement.


Policeman stabbed in Villimale

A policeman was stabbed yesterday (January 7) in Villimalé while attempting to apprehend a thief.

The Maldives Police Service stated that the policeman was attacked at around 3.45pm, and was initially treated at the Villimalé Health Centre before being brought to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Malé.

“A 36-year-old Maldivian man has been apprehended by the police in connection with the crime. The knife (17 cm blade) used to attack the policeman has also been confiscated”, the statement read.

The man attacked the police officer after he attempted to arrest him on suspicion of robbing ‘Multi Point’ shop in the capital’s suburb.

Police also stated that the man arrested in relation to the crime has a previous criminal record of robbery.

Late last month, Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed met with newly appointed Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed to discuss measures to expedite cases involving assault of police officers and obstruction of police duty.


Police statements taken from six children after unrest at Villingili shelter

Statements were taken from six students at the Villingili orphanage over a disturbance in which both staff and property were harmed last night (October 26).

A police media official confirmed that police were called to the scene by the children’s shelter staff and that they questioned and took statements from six of the children.

The refused to give further information stating that investigations into the incident were still ongoing.

The children’s shelter also refused to comment on the matter, while officials from the Ministry of Health and Gender were unavailable to comment at the time of publication.


Civil Court reinstates Villimalé Safe Beach Project

The Civil Court has ordered Malé City Council to reinstate a beach-cleaning contract made with Save the Beach.

The council terminated the contract on September 23, 2013 on the Anti Corruption Commission’s (ACC) recommendations. The ACC claims undue advantages were conferred in awarding the contract to Save the Beach.

The commission has also asked the Prosecutor General to press corruption charges against two former Malé City Councilors and three council staff who were involved in vetting applications for the project.

However, the Civil Court today ruled the ACC does not have the power to order a contract be terminated as per a previous Supreme Court ruling.

Under the Vilimalé Safe Beach Project, Save the Beach won a contract to keep the Vilimalé beach area, jetty, and lagoon clean in exchange for two beachfront plots of land to establish businesses to sustain the project.


MP Nihan slams police over dismantling of youth huts on Villimalé

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP for Villimalé Ahmed Nihan has criticised the Maldives Police Services decision to dismantle huts built by young people on public land.

Speaking to Minivan News, Nihan said Villimalé’s youth population had used the huts as social spaces for over 20 years. Destroying the huts – which the youth call home – without showing them alternatives will only cause more social problems, claimed the MP.

The police dismantled the structures on the suburban island on May 18, claiming the huts were built illegally and encouraged gang activity though no unlawful substance or tools were discovered during the operation.

Nihan’s criticism of adequate youth facilities has been echoed by the Maldivian Democratic Party.

“Young people often do not have space in their houses to bring friends over as their houses are congested, that’s why they use these huts to meet up with their friends,’’ said Nihan.

“They believe that the places belong to them and gives the place some identity.’’

Encroaching on public land is an offense, acknowledged the MP, although he took issue with the police’s approach to dismantling huts.

“My concern is that the police did not discuss the issue with any of the youth before destroying the huts and have not even tried to advise them or try to make them understand that what they were doing was wrong and illegal,’’ he said.

“Destroying the huts is not the solution – there are many other things that have to be sorted out if the government wants the youth to be more productive and to stop them from getting involved in illegal activities.’’

For one thing, a youth center with modern facilities was needed to stop young people from encroaching on public space or engaging in illegal activities, he said.

“The youth center here is not functional at all because the staff handling the youth centre are not permanent, and does not have much interest in  his work. The centre is not opened regularly and there is no space for modern sports or entertainment.”

“I have MVR181,000 (US$11,715) worth of music instruments with me but I don’t have a place where the youth can access them. I don’t want to bring them into the PPM office here because not all the youth are PPM supporters – they will shout ‘Golhaabo’ [an offensive term used to refer to Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom] and run away,’’ he said.

Nihan also said that he had tried to take up this issue with Youth Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal but that the minister was too busy building stadiums for the ongoing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge cup.

He called on the government to provide more job opportunities for the youth and to direct them to useful work.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Youth Wing Leader Mohamed Azmeel has also condemned the police’s actions saying: “I don’t think it is always drug dealers and gang members that hangs out in these spots. Besides, there are no other places to hangout.”

He noted that the new government had banned opening shops after 11pm to decrease crimes but that the crime rate has not dropped.

“We noticed that when police dismantled the huts, they targeted mostly places where MDP supporters hangout,” he said.

Youths construct structures on public spaces because there was no job opportunities for them and they have nothing to do, he added.

‘’If they don’t have anything to do they will gather to places like that to hangout,’’ he said. “The government pledged that 94,000 job opportunities will be created but they have not started implementing it,’’ he said.

While police claim the operation was carried out “after discussion with the city council”, Malé City Council – under whose jurisdiction the land currently is – has denied authorising the move, or being officially informed of it.

Despite recent assurances that the government’s youth policy was addressing the concerns of young people, youth leaders from all sides of the political divide have suggested a lack of youth participation in the administration’s planning.


Police dismantle Villimalé hangout, take in six for disobedience

The police have dismantled a youth hangout hut in Villingili and taken six people into custody for “disobeying orders” and “obstructing the police duties”.

Maldives Police Services (MPS) has confirmed the incident in the suburb of the capital yesterday, saying that all six were released after bring given advise on future conduct.

According to police, the hangout was dismantled due to the prevalence of crimes at the spot and because it has been setup unlawfully.

“Police have received reports and observed prevalence of criminal activity at that spot, including drug abuse and fights,” a police official told Minivan News, adding that no unlawful substance or tools were discovered during the operation.

One person involved in the incident has alleged that police refused to show a council order before dismantling the area, while a local resident suggests that similar community leisure areas can be found across the island.

While police claim the operation was carried out “after discussion with the city council”, Malé City Council – under whose jurisdiction the land currently is – has denied authorising the move, or being officially informed of it.

“They discussed the issue of [dismantling] the place in Villimalé, but we told them to take all such hangouts around Malé instead of just that one place in Villimalé,” council member Shamau Shareef explained.

Police refused to comment on the alleged discussions to remove other hangouts around Malé.

The council has previously expressed concern over lack of police cooperation in providing security services, including requests to dismantle all such hangouts and to provide security for the recently held street market in Malé.

Councillor Shamau said that, in a similar incident, police had refused to remove an illegal ‘gaadiyaa’ street vendor’s booth recently.

“They [the vendor] are not paying any lease fees, and there is a court verdict against them. But the police said a court warrant would be required to remove it,” said Shamau.

Local media CNM has reported that some young people at the hangout confronted police demanding a city council order to dismantle the hut, which was not delivered to them.

“We were hanging out there at the joali when they started dismantling [the place] using hammers and other things. We asked them to show the city council’s request to dismantle the place. They said they don’t have to show it and then they handcuffed us in a very brutal manner and beat us up,” CNM quoted one of the youth as saying.

A Villimalé resident told Minivan News that there are many similar hangouts setup in public spaces by the community.

“They are well made and decorated even. Some of the places even have television sets,” he said.


Electric buggies to be introduced in Villimalé

Electric buggies will be introduced in the island of Villingili – often referred to as Villimalé, offering local residents cheap taxi services around the 0.25km sq island.

Local news outlet CNM reports that the new service will begin tomorrow (February 23), with ten buggies being introduced in the quiet suburb of the busy capital Malé .

Under former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, motorized vehicles were largely banned in Villingilli which, despite the presence of a few vehicles today, retains its relaxed atmosphere.

“We have permission to operate around 10 buggies. We will increase based on demand. We do not believe that unnecessarily increasing the number of vehicles here is a good idea,” Mohamed Visham told CNM.

Visham is managing director at 99 Holding – the organisation said to be behind the scheme. CNM reported that buggy rides will cost MVR5.


President and cabinet members on scoresheet at opening of football pitch

A team including cabinet members and President Abdulla Yameen last night beat a team of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officials in a match held to inaugurate the opening of the Villimalé futsal pitch.

Chief of Defense Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam, and Managing Director of the State Trading Organisation Adam Azim officially handed over the pitch to the Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal before the game began.

Local media reported the final score as being 7-6 to the president’s team, with Home Minister Umar Naseer being named man of the match.

Naseer, President Yameen, and Tourism Minister were all on the scoresheet. The attorney general sustained a suspected sprained ankle in the second half, being replaced by the fisheries minister.


Police investigating death of baby in Vilimale’

Police have launched an investigation into an incident that occurred in Vilimale’ where a one month baby was found dead.

“Police were informed of the death of a baby and we are investigating the case,” a police media official told Minivan News, before declining to provide further information.

However, the official did say that police were not investigating the murder of a baby, as reported by some media outlets, but was investigating the death of a baby in Vilimale’.

Speaking to Minivan News today Director of Vilimale’ health centre, Ahmed Zahir, said that the dead body was brought to the health centre at 2:20pm yesterday.

“It was a female and one month old,” he said. “The baby was bleeding from her nose and mouth when it was brought to the health centre.”

He said the baby was then taken to Male’ after examining at the health centre.

“The baby’s mother and father was arrested as far as I am concerned,’’ he said, adding that he did not have further information on the incident.

According to local media, the incident occurred yesterday (24 March 2013) in Vilimale’, the fifth ward of Male’ city.

People who had witnessed the baby being carried to the health centre have told local newspapers that the baby was bleeding from the nose and mouth and that parts of the infant’s body were swollen in blue colour.

The papers reported that the mother of the baby had told the neighbours that the baby died after she accidentally crushed it under her body.

Sun Online quoted a member of mother’s family as saying that they knew about the incident when the baby’s mother told them the baby was dead yesterday afternoon.

The family also told the paper that the baby’s body was very hard when they touched it before it was taken to the health centre.

They also told the paper that the family members overheard the couple arguing the night before.

According to the paper, the baby was the couple’s first child and both the mother and father have previous drug related offences recorded with the police.

The corpse of a premature baby boy was discovered in Vilimale’ in May 2011, concealed inside a Coast Milk tin.

At the time police arrested a 30 year-old woman from Noonu Atoll who was the suspected mother of the baby, and a 24 year-old woman from Kaafu Atoll who was alleged to have assisted her deliver the baby prematurely.