Terrorism charges have been raised on the 18 individuals arrested in Kolamaafushi island of Gaaf Alif atoll on Thursday morning, under allegations of inflicting damage on the island’s campaign site.
Legal representative of the arrested individuals, Mahfooz Saeed revealed that all 18 of the arrested remain under police custody in the atoll’s capital, Villigili. Saeed further revealed that all 18 will be brought to Villigili Magistrate Court some time on Thursday night for their remand hearing.
According to a court order issuing the arrest of the Kolamaafushi residents who just happen to be all MDP supporters, they were arrested as they were deemed as a risk to security and concord, as they posed a risk to influence witnesses as well as inflicting damage on public property by creating unrest in the island at around 06:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Opposition supporters had begun preparing the island for Joint Opposition Coalition’s Presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s arrival in the island as part of his campaign tour across Huvadhu atoll which is to commence on Saturday. They had begun draping banners and putting up flags on Wednesday evening.
The opposition supporters work was obstructed by supported of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) which led to a dispute between the both parties and injury to some.
Those arrested include Abdulla Rasheed, Ahmed Saleem, Niyaz Hussain, Hussain Farhath, Ahmed Waheed, Mahooth Ismail, Abbas Abdulla, Ahmed Rauf, Hassan Najeeb, Muslim Najeeb, Ziyad Rasheed, Mohamed Rasheed, Razeen Rasheed, Ahmed Shuzan, Shahudh Mohamed, Ismail Shareef, Riffath Ibrahim and Amjad Ibrahim.
While the altercation has occurred at a time Solih is scheduled to arrive in the island on a campaign tour, the issue of police officers taking down opposition flags and banners for President Yameen’s arrival in islands, has surfaced.
It is also notable that the authorities are yet to investigate the attack on Solih during the first of his campaign trips across the nation, in Hulhumale’, Moreover, police are yet to investigate the matter of ruling party supporters taking down opposition flags and banners across the nation, although pictures have since circulated on social media, clearly showing their faces.
Following the altercation, MPS spokesperson Ahmed Shifan had on Thursday appealed on Solih to postpone his trip to the island due to security concerns. 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. Shifan said that Kolamaafushi island does not have a conducive environment to campaign in currently.