Maldives Police Service (MPS) have begun investigating the case of a sandbank being deliberately damaged near the island of K. Himmafushi.
Police revealed that they had received a report pertaining to a group who had been cutting a shallow artificial channel on the sandbank at around 8:40pm on Thursday, and that the report had been made on behalf of the Himmafushi Island Council. Officers arrived on scene shortly after the report had been lodged.
Police have alerted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the situation, and have taken necessary steps as dictated by EPA thus far in relation to operations on the sandbank.
Videos circulating on social media in relation to the incident on Friday, shows members of the public approaching and questioning alleged associates of the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives after having come across them near the damaged sandbank. Some voiced concerns that the associates of the Gili Lankanfushi had deigned to destroy the sandbank as locals from Himmafushi island were utilizing it for recreation and leisure, and because it was no longer viable as an exclusive location for guests staying at the Gili Lankanfushi Resort.
Speaking to RaajjeMV about the issue, Director General of EPA Mohamed Naeem said that deliberately destroying a sandbank was not an acceptable act at all, stressing that the EPA would not back down in taking action against perpetrators once investigation was complete.
President of the Himmafushi Island Council Shan Ibrahim maintains that associates of a resort near Himmafushi had been the ones to dig the channel on the sandbank, and that the council had been notified of their actions by members of the public.
Shan added that no parties had approached the council for discussions before such drastic measures were undertaken, and said he did not understand their purpose.
The matter has led to immense public scrutiny and calls for action against Gili Lankanfushi management, especially given the current administration's "strong stance" on environmental protection.