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Maldives launches research in bid to curb extremism, jihadists

Mohamed Visham
15 June 2016, MVT 12:49
A Maldivian killed while fighting in Syria in 2014.
Mohamed Visham
15 June 2016, MVT 12:49

Maldives on Tuesday kick-started a research into rising extremism leading to increasing number of jihadists from the archipelago.

Defence ministry in a statement said the research being conducted by the national counter terrorism centre will enable authorities to identify the reasons behind the increasing number of Maldivians joining foreign 'jihads'

This in turn will enable the government to determine the steps that need to be taken to safeguard national security, the statement read.

The research will consult and gather information from prominent Islamic scholars and technocrats.

The center is trying to publicist the report by the end of July, statement said.

Defence ministry's initiative came two days after another Maldivian group has headed to war torn Syria to join the jihadists.

Mihaaru had found that three people in the group are from Hithadhoo southernmost Atoll Addu. It is believed that a couple and the husband’s friend had departed from Maldives on June 3 saying that they were heading to Dubai on a business trip.

But it is believed that the three had entered Syria on Friday. One of the men had sent a message to the family informing them that he was indeed in Syria and told the family that he would be in touch once his training is completed.

Mihaaru also understands that the three had been on a police watch list for possible intentions to join the Syrian war.

The latest report of Maldivians joining the Syrian war came after president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom sought the view of the parliament on a policy paper on Terrorism and Violent Extremism last week.

According to the president’s office the paper was submitted because of the gravity of the issue, and its possible impact on national security and the safety of the Maldivian people.

The government and the opposition has continuously been at odds over the number of Maldivians joining the ongoing civil war in Syria.

The opposition has insisted that the number is at 250 which would make Maldives with the highest number of fighters in Syria per capita.

However, the government has accused the opposition of inflating the number for political gain and has always maintained that number of Maldivian jihadists in Syria to be under 50.

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