61 Maldivians are currently fighting in Syria, and 68 were caught on the way, says National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
In a news conference on Monday, Defense Minister Adam Shareef said the number of Maldivians fighting in the Syrian civil war has increased.
NCTC in 2016 reported that 49 Maldivians left for Syria, and three were caught on the way.
In Monday’s conference, the Defense Minister said the 68 people, who were caught at different times, include 59 adults and nine minors. The minors were caught while being taken to Syria by their families.
The Minister said 12 were arrested in Turkey, 21 were arrested in Male’, and 13 were arrested in other countries.
He said that investigations have concluded for seven people.
He also said that three people came back to Maldives on their own, and that their investigations are ongoing.
Regarding the recent travel warning from the United States, the minister said that it was released without the Maldives government’s input.
The United States government’s bureau of consular affairs has released a travel advisory on the Maldives, asking travelers to be cautious of terrorism in the country.