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Police reject claims Friday fire tragedy was terrorist move

Raif Amyl Jalyl
23 September 2019, MVT 23:22
Epicentre of Friday's major fire incident. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Raif Amyl Jalyl
23 September 2019, MVT 23:22

Maldives Police Service, on Monday, affirmed that investigations into Friday's tragic fire incident thus far did not indicate any signs of being a terror attack.

Head of Serious and Organised Crimes Unit, Superintendent Hassan Shifau delivered the statement in response to claims, notably presented by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Henveiru North MP Ibrahim Muizzu, alleging the fire that wreaked havoc in Henveiru ward was a deliberate and orchestrated terror attack.

Muizzu's claims sparked discourse among opposition parties People's National Congress (PNC) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). Former Minister of Defence and PNC's Parliamentary Group leader Adam Shareef described Muizzu's claims as "serious", validated by the claims being perpetrated by an MP of representing the governing administration and called on Police to investigate the claims.

Stating that the Police investigation was still underway, Shifau said although the fire at the 3-storey chemical storage facility at 'Thilafushi' house was currently unknown, investigations did not reveal any signs of deliberate arson.

"Current findings do not directly or implicitly indicate any signs at all [of an act of terror]. I do want to highlight that the investigation is currently being conducted with due consideration to all possibilities and all angles".

Authorities further disclosed that policy level discussions to request foreign aid in investigating the incident were currently underway .

Shifau revealed that to uncover the source of the fire, the Police would pay special attention to the epicentre, adding that they were viewing CCTV footage at Abadhahfehi Magu as part of their thorough investigation.

As the incident remains a vastly discussed topic, he requested the public to relay any relevant information to Police.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamed Naveen iterated that the area is under 24-hour Police surveillance.

Damage assessment underway. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Deputy CEO of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Umar Moosa Fikry revealed that an assessment of damages to houses was complete and that work to compile a damage assessment report is underway.

He declared that approximately 30 houses were identified as being damaged by the fire.

Moreover, the Deputy CEO disclosed that temporary accommodation was arranged for approximately 290 people displaced in the incident.

He stated that the temporary shelters were arranged to accommodate them for a week and discussions to further assist the individuals would be held within the next 2-3 days.

While state policies dictate that in cases of disasters 20 percent of compensation for damages would be provided, the Deputy CEO stated that as public donation account was created for relief aid, financial aid for this incident is expected to be higher.

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