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Stranded Maldivian women and children in Syria to be repatriated by mid-2020

Ali Shareef
18 December 2019, MVT 10:46
Maldivian insurgents in Syria. PHOTO: UNKNOWN
Ali Shareef
18 December 2019, MVT 10:46

The government plans to bring back Maldivian women and children stranded in Syria, revealed Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed on Monday.

Speaking at the panel discussion held at the ‘Viavathi Raajje’ Councilor Conference, Hameed said that, of the 173 who traveled to Syria for jihad, 59 are confirmed to be alive. A total of 432 are reported to having attempted to travel to Syria to join the insurgency.

Hameed also revealed government plans to build a de-radicalization facility in K. Himmafushi, in which the repatriated individuals will undergo a rehabilitation program.

“Within the next six to seven months, they will be brought back with assistance from another nation-state, with efforts undertaken to rehabilitate them,” he elaborated, highlighting the incessant pleas made by their families for their safe return.

The rehabilitation program will be instituted in accordance with the recently amended Anti-terrorism Act. The newly enacted amendments contain provisions for tackling radicalization, terrorism financing, and mechanisms for rehabilitation and monitoring.

This is the first instance the government revealed official figures of Maldivians who traveled to Syria in the name of jihad.

During the session, authorities raised alarm over the high incidence of radicalization in Maldives in the past 12 years, estimating that there were 1,400 radicalized individuals ascribing to violent extremist ideology.

Hameed’s comments echo the broader counter-radicalization commitments made by the government at the 2-day conference.