Another person has been arrested in connection with the case of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s security being breached by the opposition.
The Maldives Police Service (MPS) revealed that arrested under a court order on Friday evening was opposition activist, Mohamed Abbas.
President Solih’s security was breached, after protestors from the opposition coalition comprising of Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC) blocked his motorcade while he was returning from an event on the evening of March 13. Several arrests were made shortly after.
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 his path.
Videos that have been 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.
Out of the four arrested then, the Criminal Court remanded two by five days and the remaining two suspects were given a 15-day remand. Arrested that evening were three men and a woman.
Further, eight men and nine women were also taken into police custody during the protest. They were arrested under allegations of obstructing law enforcement officers.
Both cases are currently under further investigation. The People’s Majlis Committee on National Security Services or the 241 Committee is also looking into the matter of President Solih’s motorcade being obstructed, with the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) also having launched a probe.
Commanding Officer of the Presidential Guards, Colonel Abdullah Ibrahim was temporarily relieved of his duties, in connection with the case. The unit has since been temporarily handed over to Deputy Commander Major Ahmed Haleem.
Parliamentarian for Hanimaadhoo Constituency Abdul Ghafoor Moosa on Tuesday, called the 241 Committee to inquire whether the motorcade was stopped deliberately and whether the safety of the route was ensured. He went onto say that action must be taken against both the parties involved in the incident after investigations conclude. As such, he sought to clarify why MNDF chose the route when the opposition protest was on going on.
The committee decided to investigate 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. Minister of Defence and National Security Mariya Ahmed Didi, in consultation with the leadership of the National Defence Force, had shortly constituted a special committee to investigate the matter.
Speaking to press on March 14, President Solih confirmed that he had received the police report on the incident of his motorcade being obstructed. He added that his security is being handled by the defense ministry and that he would make a statement regarding the incident after receiving the report of the findings from the defense ministry.
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.