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14-year-old missing from state custody

Shahudha Mohamed
24 June 2019, MVT 16:06
'Kudakudhinge Hiyaa' orphanage in K.Villimale. PHOTO/KUDAKUDHINGE HIYAA
Shahudha Mohamed
24 June 2019, MVT 16:06

Maldives Police Service are searching for a minor who disappeared from 'Kudakudhinge Hiya', the government-managed orphanage for children under state custody, in the suburb of Villimale'.

According to Police, 14-year-old Shaim Abdulla was reported missing last Tuesday at 0929 hrs. Following due procedure, Police publicly announced the search on Thursday night.

At the time, Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services remained silent about the matter and withheld information about Shaim being under state custody.

The ministry eventually confirmed that Shaim disappeared from 'Kudakudhinge Hiya', after an order by the Juvenile Court stating that the minor ran away from the orphanage, was circulated on social media.

Until then, Gender Ministry maintained that Shaim was not registered at the state orphanage.

According to the ministry, the boy was taken to 'Kudakudhinge Hiya' from an environment of crime to conduct further assessments.

"He was not institutionalized there. While he was there, he was not in contact with other children at Kudakudhinge Hiya", Gender Ministry revealed in their media Viber Group.

Shaim disappeared between the compounds of 'Kudakudhinge Hiya' and 'Amaan Hiya'.

Opposition party People's National Congress (PNC), on Sunday night, released a statement expressing concern over Shaim's disappearance.

Noting that 'Kudakudhinge Hiya' was established to take care of children under state custody and Gender Ministry was tasked with monitoring and overseeing the children's well-being in addition to ensuring a safe environment for them, PNC accused the ministry of gross negligence.

The party called for genuine information regarding Shaim's disappearance.

Additionally, PNC accused the current Gender Minister Shidhatha Shareef of being negligent in the case of Mohamed Ibthihaal, a child who succumbed to injuries he sustained due to abuse in Rakeedhoo, Vaavu Atoll.

Shidhatha was a top official in the ministry at the time.

"This party does not believe that such a person can responsibly lead an important institution such as Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services", PNC's statement read.

Therefore, PNC called on the government to conduct a thorough investigation into Shaim's disappearance and take measures against those who were negligent in the incident.

The parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Gender scheduled a session for 1200 hrs on Monday to investigate the case.

Police assure that the search for the boy is ongoing, revealing that three residences have been inspected so far in an attempt to identify Shaim's whereabouts. Police further stated that surveillance footage was being viewed to aid the investigation.

Police requested any parties with information about Shaim and his whereabouts to contact Family and Child Protection Department via their duty number +960 3000600.

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