Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has constituted a special committee to investigate the obstruction of the motorcade of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
A statement released by MNDF says that the committee was formed by the Minister of Defense, Mariya Ahmed Didi, in consultation with the leadership of the National Defense Force.
The statement went onto disclose that MNDF has suspended the Commanding Officer of Presidential Guards, Colonel Abdullah Ibrahim from his post, in accordance with the procedures followed by MNDF in such cases.
The unit has been temporarily handed over to Deputy Commander Major Ahmed Haleem.
The Maldivian president’s security was breached by the opposition while he was returning from the official function held in Hulhumalé to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day.
His motorcade was passing through Boduthakurufaanu road when opposition protesters stopped his car and blocked its path.
Videos circulating on social media show that the president’s motorcade was blocked near Cibo restaurant. The videos show police officers trying to stop the protestors from blocking the motorcade.
Some protesters took to social media saying that the president was unable to travel through the area and had to withdraw the motorcade.
The People’s Majlis Committee on National Security Services or the 241 Committee is also looking into the matter.
Member of Parliament from Hanimaadhoo Constituency, Abdul Ghafoor Moosa, on Tuesday, called the committee to inquire whether the motorcade was stopped deliberately and whether the safety of the route was ensured. He went onto say that action should be taken against both the parties involved in the incident after investigations. As such, he wanted to clarify why the MNDF chose the route when the opposition protest was on going on at the same route.
The committee decided to look into the actions of the institutions involved and how the opportunity was facilitated for the opposition to breach the President's security.
As an additional point, it was decided to investigate the reason why the motorcade had to be turned around.
Additionally, a letter will be sent to the MNDF and Maldives Police Service (MPS) seeking details of the action taken in connection with the incident.
The president’s security breach has shaken the nation, with some people asserting that this act cannot be seen as a political gimmick, with some even stressing that President Solih wasn’t given the full level of security he required at the time.
Four people have been arrested following the incident. They include a woman and three men. They were remanded in custody by the Criminal Court. As such, MPS disclosed that two of the four people were remanded for five days and the remaining two were remanded for 15 days.
Further, eight men and nine women were taken into police custody during the protest. They were arrested under allegations of obstructing law enforcement officers. However, they were granted conditional release after being brought for the Criminal Court for a ruling on their custody.
Both cases are currently under further investigation.