Maldives Police Service has requested opposition coalition’s Presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to postpone his trip to Kolamaafushi island in Gaaf Alif atoll.
Solih is scheduled to travel to Huvadhu atoll, which comprises of Gaaf Alif and Gaaf Dhaalu atolls, on Saturday morning and is to visit 19 islands. Maldives Police Service had requested Solih to postpone the trip following the unrest in the island on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference hosted by the police on Thursday, spokesperson Ahmed Shifan said that Kolamaafushi island does not have a conducive environment to campaign in currently.
As such, Shifan asked Solih to refrain from travelling to the island at this time and to postpone his trip 'for when things are more stable there'.
Shifan further said that they will not give the opportunity for unrest to churn across the nation due to the approaching September election, saying that they will enforce law if required.
Highlighting that officers of the MPS are fully prepared for the upcoming Presidential Election slated for the 23rd of September, Shifan said that officers will be dispatched to all regions across the country to maintain security during the ballots. Adding that the MPS has received eight complaints regarding the election thus far, Shifan said that they are investigating the cases.
Police had arrested 18 individuals from Kolamaafushi island due to an unrest that had churned within residents while preparations were underway to welcome the opposition candidate to the island. All of the arrested individuals had been taken to the atoll’s capital, Villigili island since.
While the police have appealed on Solih and team to delay their campaign trip following the unrest, flags draped across the island representing main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party and the Joint Opposition parties had been taken down by officers of the MPS before incumbent President Abdulla Yameen’s arrival in the island on the 08th of August.
Moreover, it is notable that officers active in several outlying islands are perceived closing off shops and cafes as well as taking down flags representing the opposition and arresting opposition supporters before President Yameen’s arrival in the islands.
While the MPS asserts that these actions are carried out for the President’s safety, they had refrained from answering the question as to why security in islands cannot be enforced before the opposition candidate’s arrival as well.