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Parliament’s 06th May Terror Attack Report Highlights Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi’s Negligence.

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The Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 committee) has publicized their inquiry report into the 06th May terror attack which was targeted at the Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed.

The highly anticipated report highlighted major issues surrounding interagency intelligence exchange and support systems. However, the report laid bare on the Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi’s possible negligence in thwarting the 06th May terror attack.

According to section 10.17.8, the Hulhudhoo Constituency MP Ilyas Labeeb had informed Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi of a possible attack against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed after he received a tipoff. Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi stated that she did not inform any other intelligence units, within the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldives Police Service (MPS).

She justified that under Article 19-1 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, that information on an act of terrorism should be relayed to the MPS and not the Defence Minister. She also stated that there was no legal need for the Hulhudhoo Constituency MP Ilyas Labeeb to relay the tipoff to her, and insisted that she is under no obligation to pass on the information on the attack to the MPS, herself.

However, Article 19-3 (e) of the Anti-Terrorism Act states that in addition to the intelligence units, any information gathered on a possible act of terrorism by any state authority should be immediately relayed to the intelligence units mentioned in the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi also stated that she did not inform the Defence Intelligence Service (DIS) of the tipoff on the attack against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed because the Speaker’s security threat level was already at critical. She stated that even if she had informed the DIS of the possible attack, the threat level would have remained critical.

The inquiry report also noted that the Maldives National Defence Force did engage in patrolling the streets of the capital city following the 06th May terror attack. When questioned on the subject, Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi, according to the inquiry report stated that the MNDF does not have the legal powers to patrol the streets of the capital city and that the power lies with the MPS.

However, the inquiry report noted that Article 28-4 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act states that, in the event of a possible act of terrorism or after an act of terrorism using weaponry or explosives, the MNDF will lead the efforts in protecting the society and taking preventive measures.

The content of the report is speculated to cause major political upheaval within the ruling Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) and its coalition partners. Conditions remain fragile within the ruling party as factions loyal to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker Mohamed accuse each other undermining and sidelining each other.

Moreover, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed’s daughter and his supporters have already accused Minister Mariya Ali Didi of being involved in the attack and have called for her resignation.

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FM Shahid presents letter from Pres Solih to UAE’s President

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Foreign Minister His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, the Special Envoy of President His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
At the meeting held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UAE, Minister Shahid handed over a letter from President Solih addressed to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and conveyed greetings and well wishes from President Solih to the leadership and the Emirati people. During the meeting, the Ministers conversed on ways to further strengthen and diversify the long-standing relations between the Maldives and UAE.
Minister Shahid reiterated appreciation for the generous support and assistance provided to the Maldives through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and expressed gratitude on behalf of the government and people of the Maldives for the invaluable contributions made by UAE towards the socio-economic development of the Maldives, over the years.
The two Foreign Ministers expressed their renewed commitment to working together on issues of mutual interest, both bilaterally and in the international fora. Foreign Minister Shahid was accompanied at the meeting by the Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to the United Arab Emirates, Her Excellency Aminath Shabeena, Assistant Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Salman Zaki and Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in the United Arab Emirates, Fathimath Urooj Nizar.

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Defense Minister: Terror attack recently foiled one of the most dangerous planned to date

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Defense Ministry Mariya Ahmed Didi has described the mass casualty terror attack using explosives recently foiled by Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defense Force in a joint counter-terrorism operation as one of the most dangerous attacks planned to date.

Speaking at the ceremony held to mark the 29th anniversary of MNDF’s Southern Area Command – Minister Mariya stressed that the government was undertaking a number of efforts to counter the spread of extremism.

Despite these efforts, the Minister said that there are groups propagating extremism and conspiring fatal terror attacks nonstop, by allocating all their time for the purpose.

Therewith, Minister Mariya emphasized on the importance of basing actions on information attained through surveilling such conspiracies, and carrying out the necessary research.

“I believe MNDF’s area commands need to significantly increase capacity in this trajectory,” she added.

In this regard, she described the mass casualty terror attack using explosives recently foiled in a joint counter-terrorism operation as one of the most dangerous attacks planned to date.

Police have stated that three substances presumed to be explosive chemicals which was seized from the home of one of the arrestees from the operation when tested by MNDF’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) had shown to have highly explosive substances. They emphasized that EOD reported that small quantities of the chemical can fatally injure a human, and cause great damage to goods.

A total of 14 people were arrested during this operation; 10 from Addu City, two from Male’ City and two from Guraidhoo. Police identified all the suspects as Maldivian men.

Criminal Court remanded five of them in custody pending the outcome of trial. They include a 20-year-old, 27-year-old, 30-year-old, 35-year-old, and 37-year-old.

Meanwhile, five others – an 18-year-old, two 33-year-olds, a 35-year-old, and a 46-year-old – were remanded in custody for 14 days. Four of them – a 19-year-old, two 27-year-olds, and a 28-year-old – were remanded in custody for 30 days.

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Officers smuggling telephones and drugs into prison are identified

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By: Fathimath Lauza

The Commissioner of Prisons (COP) has stated that an operation is being carried out against jail officers who are illegally getting into prisons and in any other case violating the law.

Ahmed stated that a major operation has been launched to stop these incidents. After extensive consultations with the police, an operation is being conducted against the incident and the officers involved have already been identified.

Ahmed stated that one of the biggest difficulties is getting enough evidence before taking action against an employee. Therefore, the identified officers have been targeted in the operation, he explained.

The Correctional Service is working hard to prevent the smuggling of telephones and drugs into prisons. However, this problem has not been resolved so far. This week, a prison officer was arrested with drugs for trying to smuggle them into the jail. , Ahmed stated such cases have been a prime problem since the beginning of the prisons in Maldives. He stated prison officials had been also involved. “I admit that there is a hand of officers. There are some officers who have been noticed. But you know that action cannot be taken against an employee because of suspicion.”

Ahmed stated many other efforts are being made to prevent the smuggling of telephones into prisons. He stated the problem should be prevented through technology. Ahmed stated he tried to use a jammer however that was not the most desirable solution. Therefore, some of the measures taken now consist of installing antennas in the prison region and a system to detect calls going through the prison, he stated.

“Before, we had to run through the device. Even if you inserted a single device and inserted 50 SIM cards, you could do whatever you wanted inside the jail without us seeing it.” Ahmed explained.

He stated work has been started however its going to take a long time to peer a complete result. These issues have been rooted for a long term and its going to take days for the results to be reached.

Ahmed stated it would not be easy to smuggle items into prisons based at the work done in recent years. The Commissioner of Prisons Ahmed Mohammed stated the measures taken against the crime will be strengthened

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