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Maldivian on OFAC terrorist list for first time

Shahudha Mohamed
11 September 2019, MVT 22:53
Maldives Police Service officers during a special operation conducted as part of the investigation into missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan's case. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
11 September 2019, MVT 22:53

For the first time in history, America's Department of the Treasuries Office of Foreign Affairs Control (OFAC) included the name of a Maldivian in their terrorist list and imposed sanctions against him.

Mohamed Ameen's name is now on the list, which was compiled following the terrorist attacks on November 11, 2001 when two hijacked passenger jets flew into the twin towers of the World trade Centre in America's New York City.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Ameen is identified as both a recruiter and key leader for ISIS in Syria, Afghanistan, and the Maldives.

The department further alleged that Ameen is known to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), which is a branch of the IS based in Iraq.

Per disclosed details, the terrorist requested a Maldivian citizen and digital media member of ISIS-K to travel to Afghanistan because the group required his services. The citizen was informed that he would receive a salary amounting to USD 700 and was also given the responsibility of acting as a translator for Ameen.

Additionally, authorities revealed that Ameen was actively engaged in leading IS recruitment through his close lieutenants, from April 2019 onwards.

According to US authorities, Ameen’s subordinates hosted approximately 10 recruitment sessions per week under the guise of Islamic classes, held at several locations in Male' including Ameen’s residence.

They also claim that Ameen and his group continue to recruit on behalf of IS, targeting various criminal gangs based in the country.

Despite formerly directing terrorist fighters to Syria, Ameen now sends recruits to Afghanistan, as per America's Treasury Department.

Local authorities attempted to arrest Ameen in relation to the bombing that took place near Sultan Park in 2007. However, he succeeded in fleeing the country before an arrest could be made.

Ameen was later arrested in neighboring Sri Lanka in 2011 and brought back to the country, but was released thereafter.

Sources from local news Mihaaru confirm that he is currently living in Maldives as a free man.

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