The Edition


Maldives police to seek charges against Sri Lanka sniper

Mohamed Visham
15 June 2016, MVT 15:20
Mohamed Visham
15 June 2016, MVT 15:20
A police officer displace a weapon that was recovered from a stash found in an uninhabited island. PHOTO/RAAJJE.MV


Maldives police have decided to seek charges against the alleged Sri Lankan sniper brought into Maldives as part of an assassination attempt on the president after his remand was extended for the twentieth time.

Confirming the arrest of the Sri Lankan sniper for the first time, police said in November that the 27-year-old man was arrested on October 24 and remain in custody.

Police spokesperson confirmed the remand extension but refused to comment on the pursuit of charges.

However, Mihaaru understands that police have decided to seek charges and had consulted with the Prosecutor General's (PG) office last week over the case.

Some Sri Lankan media outlets have, however, reported that the man was an importer of Maldives dry fish. Sri Lanka’s The Sunday Times had identified the man as 24-year-old Lahiru Madhushanka.

Police had arrested three locals for allegedly hiring the Sri Lankan sniper but were later released due to lack of evidence.

Reports of the Sri Lankan sniper’s arrest came a day after Maldivian security forces confiscated assault rifles and hand guns in what has been the biggest weapons bust in the country’s history. The weapons had been seized from Hibilhadhoo island in Baa Atoll being developed as a resort.

The army had confirmed that two assault rifles found in the weapons bust belonged to the state armoury.

The items showcased during a press conference included several hand guns, a T56 assault rifle and a MP5 sub-machine gun. In addition, a large quantity of bomb making material were also displayed at the press briefing.

Maldives declared a month-long state of emergency in November after the discovery of a bomb near the presidential palace. The state of emergency was, however, later cut short after a week.

Maldives military had confirmed that the suspected device found in a vehicle parked near the presidential residence of Muliaage in capital Male was an improvised explosive device which had been subsequently been diffused.

The discovery of the IED came just over a month after an explosion aboard the presidential speedboat carrying President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom now confirmed as an attempt to kill the president.

President Yameen was unhurt but his spouse and two others were hurt in the explosion.

Vice President Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor who was arrested on October 24 as soon as he arrived from an official trip to China was found guilty and has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Sri Lankan sniper’s arrest affected the relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which accused the Maldives of using historically warm bilateral ties to crackdown on Maldivian political and social media activists.