Police arrest 3rd man in connection to Hulhumale’ stabbings

A police line bars access to a scene of a crime. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Police Service, on Thursday, made a third arrest in connection to the stabbings in suburban Hulhumale’ which left three foreign nationals injured.

The latest arrest followed the two arrest made earlier in the day.

The stabbings, which the police believe to have been perpetrated by violent extremists, had taken place between 7 pm and 8 pm on Tuesday night. It had been carried out by two helmet-clad men on a motorcycle.

The victims were two Chinese men and one Australian man. None of them sustained serious injuries, and are in stable condition.

The arrests came after a video emerged, on Wednesday night, on a local Telegram channel, claiming responsibility for the attack. The video shows three men standing side-by-side. The man in the center, who has a cloth covering his face, speaks, while the two men on the sides are blacked out with only their silhouettes visible.

He addresses the Maldivian leaders, who he calls “apostates” and says that the attack had been retribution for its crackdown on religious extremism.

“Your presumption that after deceiving the masses, you can snatch our wives and children from us and dismantle our families and then live in peace is false,” he says.

The police are working on establishing the validity of the video.

Soon after the video began circulating on social media platforms, Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla issued a short statement via his official Twitter account in which he warned the Maldivian authorities would not hesitate to take any action necessary in order to ascertain the safety and security of the Maldivian people, foreign nationals who reside in Maldives, and tourists.

“By the Grace of Allah, no one shall be allowed threaten or challenge the domestic security of Maldives,” he added.

The attack had also come one day after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in his annual address to the Parliament on Monday, announced the completion of a De-Radicalization and Rehabilitation Center in K. Hinmafushi – built as part of the 2019 amendments to the Counter-Terrorism Act which also included lengthier sentences for acts of violent extremism and terrorism.