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MNDF bans live rounds in Girifushi following freak accident

Shahudha Mohamed
07 November 2019, MVT 15:54
Military personnel training with firearms at Girifushi. Live rounds were used almost daily in these training sessions prior to the ban. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES
Shahudha Mohamed
07 November 2019, MVT 15:54

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has temporarily banned using live rounds at Girifushi Training Centre, a military base located in Kaafu Atoll, the following day after a bullet from one of the training sessions grazed a tourist aboard a safari docked in the island's vicinity.

A 41-year-old German tourist was grazed on the shoulder. Serious injuries did not occur as the bullet had ricocheted off its initial target, losing energy, as well as missing sensitive areas on the victim.

The ricochet bullet which struck a German tourist aboard a safari in Girifushi's vicinity on November 6, 2019. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES

A statement released by MNDF stated that training with live rounds were necessary but the safety of travellers in the area was more paramount.

Following Wednesday's incident, MNDF halted training with live rounds although every-day training sessions at the facility use live rounds.

MNDF's Spokesperson Major Ibrahim Azim disclosed that the matter is under investigation, assuring that training with live rounds will only resume after bringing about the necessary changes to ensure that such incidents will never repeat.

"We will bring any necessary changes to the way we currently operate", Azim said.

In addition to Girifushi, MNDF training also takes place in Maafilaafushi, Lhaviyani Atoll. Although live rounds are used in Maafilaafushi as well, most military personnel working in capital Male' travel routinely to Girifushi for their shooting training.

Girifushi and Himmafushi, two islands adjacent to each other in Kaafu Atoll. Girifushi is used as a military training centre while Himmafushi is an inhabited island. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

A few years ago, cases of bullets striking two houses in Himmafushi located near Girifushi were reported. However, at the time, MNDF claimed that the bullets were not fired from Girifushi.

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