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Maldives stops three from leaving for Jihad

Mohamed Visham
22 September 2016, MVT 16:43
Defence minister Adam Shareef (C) speaking during the press conference by the national counter terrorism centre on Thursday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Visham
22 September 2016, MVT 16:43

Three more locals have been stopped from leaving abroad to join foreign conflicts, defence minister Adam Shareef said Thursday.

Speaking during a press conference by the national counter terrorism centre on Thursday, Shareef said another jihadist had been brought back to the Maldives and remains in custody.

The minister however, did not reveal any details.

Shareef on Thursday again downplayed the number of Maldivians joining foreign conflicts with the defence minister placing the number at 49 insisting that it was mostly made up of ex-convicts and school dropouts.

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.

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.

Government has recently looked to take measures to curb the rising extremist ideologies in the island nation.

Parliament last month, passed a national policy to curb rising violent extremism ideology in the archipelago.

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.

 

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