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Two arrested while attempting to travel to join foreign war

A man was apprehended in Saudi Arabia, on suspicion on trying to travel to join a foreign war. He was accompanied by his pregnant wife, and the couple are said to have left two children behind in the Maldives.

19 February 2024, MVT 16:25
Police in Addu on one of their operations -- Photo: Police
19 February 2024, MVT 16:25

A couple has been apprehended on suspicion of traveling abroad to participate in a war.

According to information obtained by Mihaaru News, the two individuals were detained by Saudi authorities upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, they were returned to the Maldives and taken into custody earlier this month.

A source familiar with the couple revealed that they had intended to join a war, leaving their two children behind, while the woman was reportedly pregnant with their third child. Following their repatriation to the Maldives, they are presently placed under house arrest.

The specific destination of their intended war engagement remains undisclosed. However, it's noted that a significant portion of individuals from the Maldives who engage in such activities tend to head to Syria.

Authorities have yet to provide an official statement regarding the incident.

Under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, venturing into a war zone without government authorization carries a penalty ranging from five to seven years of imprisonment. Previously, all regions within Syria had been designated as war zones under this law.

Last month, the government facilitated the return of 21 Maldivians who had faced hardship after having been involved in war activities in Syria, comprising six adults and 15 children. They were repatriated to the Maldives with governmental aid and are currently undergoing rehabilitation in a designated center.

Minister of Home Affairs Ali Ihusan has previously affirmed that legal measures will be pursued against individuals returning from war zones, as engaging in foreign wars and entering such zones contravenes Maldivian laws. Earlier statements by the minister indicated that approximately 100 individuals who had participated in wars abroad are seeking to return to the Maldives.

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