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Maldives minister warns politically motivated "act of terror" threat

Mohamed Visham
19 June 2016, MVT 12:29
Defence minister Adam Shareef (L) pictured during the press conference held by the counter terrorism centre on Wednesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Visham
19 June 2016, MVT 12:29

A politically motivated act of terror is more likely than one by religious extremists, Defence minister Adam Shareef warned Thursday.

Speaking during a press conference by the national counter terrorism centre on Wednesday, Shareef explained that past terrorist activities in the archipelago had also been politically motivated.

The level of religious extremism and the jihadist threat has continued to be blown out of proportion for political gain, minister said.

Shareef alleged that such inflated information is being spread to force religious freedom in the Maldives and gain political favours from anti-Islamic governments.

Government has recently looked to take measures to curb the rising extremist ideologies in the island nation.

The government on Thursday publicized the national policy to curb rising violent extremism ideology in the archipelago.

The strategy focuses on drafting new national security laws, improving intelligence gathering, safeguarding tourist resorts -- a major part of the archipelago's economy -- and beefing up its international cooperation on terrorism.

In its policy statement, the government said the "difficult truth today is that there are people, however small in number, in the Maldives who are motivated by and cultivate violent extremist and terrorist ideology".

"It is distressing to note that a limited number of Maldivian men have travelled to fight in various overseas conflicts, and some of them have chosen to take their wives and children along with them," the statement said.


Various relevant international bodies and the opposition has insisted that the number of locals joining the Syrian conflict is at 250 which would make Maldives with the highest number of fighters in Syria per capita.

Government on Thursday again downplayed the number of Maldivians joining foreign conflicts with the defence minister placing the number at 49 insisting that it was mostly made up of ex-convicts and school dropouts.