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Maldives parliament passes anti-terrorism policy

Mohamed Visham
16 August 2016, MVT 10:25
Some Maldivian Jihadists pictured in Syria.
Mohamed Visham
16 August 2016, MVT 10:25

Parliament on Monday the national policy to curb rising violent extremism ideology in the archipelago.

The The first policy of this nature was forwarded by president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for deliberations and decisions of the Parliament in June.

The policy was passed with 58 lawmakers voting in favour out of the 60 present during Monday's sitting.

The paper outlines the concerns of the government with regard to terrorism and violent extremism, and the preventative measures the it currently undertakes and plans to take in future.

The most vital of issues identified in the paper relates to financing terrorist activities, including assistance for others to travel overseas to participate in conflicts and terrorist activities abroad.

In the key plans for the future, the paper stresses on the need to safeguard the linchpin of the country’s economy by increasing the safety and security of resorts and tourist accommodation.

The government also identified the importance of intelligence gathering and sharing with the international community, and facilitating timely remedial action to tackle terrorism.

The paper also addressed significance of increasing public awareness of violent extremism and conducting de-radicalization and rehabilitation.

In late June, Mihaaru found a massive contradiction in the government’s official number of Maldivians joining foreign conflicts with police placing its official figure at 180, significantly more than what the government had let on.

Defence minister Adam Shareef had revealed in June that the number of Maldivian jihadists fighting abroad was at 49 and were mostly made up of ex-convicts and school dropouts.

Sources say the actual figure includes suspects in ongoing police investigations and others flagged for suspicious activity.

Various relevant international bodies and the opposition has insisted that the number of locals joining the Syrian conflict is at 250 which would make Maldives with the highest number of fighters in Syria per capita.

The contradiction in the figures emerged after a local who had been fighting abroad for a terrorist group was arrested upon his return to the Maldives.

The arrest comes days after the defence minister said the government has been able to identify some of the jihadi recruiters operating in the Maldives.

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