Maldives Police Service on Thursday released details of their investigation into the murder of a local man in Haa Alif atoll Ihavandhoo island last Ramadan, revealing that the crime had been an act of vengeance.
Police presented a detailed video report to press on the murder of Ismail Umar, 54, whose body was found with multiple wounds on June 16 inside Ihavandhoo’s ice plant, where he had worked as a mechanic and the in-charge. The prime suspect in the case is Sumon Miah, a Bangladeshi national who had worked with Ismail Umar in the plant, and who confessed to the crime shortly after his arrest.
In the press conference, Police cited Sumon Miah’s confession that the latter had been enraged at Ismail Umar’s actions as the in-charge at the ice plant, which had ultimately affected Miah’s marriage. According to the police report, Ismail Umar would lose his temper when he caught Miah on the phone with his wife, who resides in Bangladesh, during work hours. Miah had finally requested his wife to stop calling him frequently, which had deeply upset her and put their marriage on the rocks.
The police report narrated that their relationship had soured to the point where his wife, who married Miah last December despite their parents’ disapproval, left their house.
In the interrogation, Miah also listed Ismail Umar’s incessant dissatisfaction with the food Miah makes, his complaints over Miah frequently leaving the workplace to meet his Bangladeshi friends, his discontent with Miah’s work, and his discrimination amongst the staff of the ice plant as reasons that had evoked his rage at Ismail Umar. Miah, at his breaking point, had decided to kill Ismail Umar as revenge and flee to Bangladesh with the former’s money.
Miah attacked while Ismail was sleeping
Sumon Miah planned the murder two days before the act. In the early hours of June 14, Ismail Umar woke up Miah for his pre-dawn meal before the former went to sleep. Miah had then packed some clothes and hidden the bag under some empty barrels inside the ice plant’s compound. He then went into hiding in an unused fuel shop inside the plant.
Two of Miah’s friends brought him food while he was in hiding. While Miah had initially planned to kill Ismail Umar and flee the island on a speedboat by the next night, he was unable to carry out the plan as Ismail was awake at the time. Hence, he requested his friends to arrange a speedboat for his getaway after midnight in the early hours of June 16.
However, his friends were able to make arrangements only for 11:00 a.m. on June 16. Miah handed over his bag to his friends when they brought him food after midnight that morning.
After his friends left, Miah snuck inside the ice plant and broke into the accommodation block where Ismail Umar was sleeping. He broke the bathroom window to get inside.
Miah had planned to strangle Ismail Umar with a cord of rope. However, upon entering Ismail’s room, he caught sight of a fishing knife on top of a cupboard.
According to Police, Ismail had woken up when Miah began to tighten the rope around his neck. He had immediately struggled to save himself, but Miah had forced him against the wall and stabbed him in the neck and chest. In the struggle, Miah also cut three of his fingers on the knife.
Afterwards, Miah had struggled to hide Ismail and dragged his bloodied body to various spots inside the ice plant. He had finally dumped Ismail’s body inside a tank and stripped off his ruined clothes, which he had dropped into a well outside. Police added that the crime scene also revealed that Miah had attempted to clean up the blood inside the plant.
Miah’s friends were unaware of his real intentions
Miah had met up with his friends after killing Ismail. He claimed that he had gotten into a violent fight with Ismail and needed to immediately flee the island. However, they were still unable to arrange for a speedboat in that hour.
Police stated that Miah’s friends were not aware that he had killed Ismail, having been only told that Ismail got knocked out in their fight. Police added that Miah had said during the interrogation that none of his friends took part in planning or carrying out the murder, which had all been his own doing.
As the earliest speedboat out of Ihavandhoo would be much later at 11:00 a.m. by which time Ismail Umar would be discovered, Miah had returned to the ice plant for a second attempt to hide the body.
According to Police, Miah took the speedboat out of Ihavandhoo that morning and arrived in Hoarafushi island in the same atoll. The same day, he left Hoarafushi and fled to Kulhudhuffushi island in neighbouring Haa Dhaal atoll.
He was captured in Kulhudhuffushi, where Police identified him by his injured fingers and other evidence despite Miah’s attempt to hide his identity.
Police arrested Miah’s friends from Ihavandhoo the same day.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office has forwarded charges against Miah and two of his friends in connection to the crime. Miah is charged with first degree murder while his friends are being indicted for covering up the crime.