Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohamed Hameed disclosed on Monday that there were approximately 1,400 extremists in Maldives that follow the ideologies of the international terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) and would not hesitate to kill their fellow man to defend their beliefs.
Speaking at the 'Viavathi Raajje' Councillor Conference currently ongoing at Crossroads, CP Hameed revealed statistics gathered by the authorities on the situation of religious extremism in the country:
- 432 individuals from across Maldives took interest in taking part in the Syrian conflict and attempted to travel to the warzone
- 173 of these individuals are recorded to have crossed the border into Syria
- 59 insurgents are currently in Syria, out of which most are children
- Out of the insurgents in Syria, four males are in the condition to be brought back to Maldives
- Approximately 1,400 individuals are following the ideologies of Islamic State and will not hesitate to kill for their cause
These numbers were formerly kept confidential as a state secret related to the country's security. However, the stats were disclosed in an attempt by the government to tackle the rampant extremism with the help of the community.
Backing up the seriousness of the issue with the aforementioned statistics, CP Hameed requested for the cooperation of island and atoll councils in taking action against acts of extremism.
According to the commissioner, many insurgents who fought in the Syrian and Afghan conflicts returned to Maldives and continued to spread extremist ideologies in the country.
"It is very concerning that the community has been subject to danger, and we are witnessing dangerous acts, due to the spread of such ideologies in some islands", he said.
In order to tackle this issue, the commissioner called for councils to work together with the authorities more closely and assured that operations will be reorganised to facilitate the councils' cooperation.
Noting that the authorities were aware of the current situation of extremism in the country, CP Hameed guaranteed that efforts were currently underway to take necessary legal action against perpetrators.