19 arrests made in connection with Bodufinolhu violence

Police officers are pictured with expatriate workers on B. Bodufinolhu on July 23, 2020. Around 15 locals were taken hostage by a group of 200 migrants over unpaid wages. (Photo/PSM)

Police have made 19 arrests in connection with the violence in B. Bodufinolhu. 

Officers from Maldives Services brought the situation in B. Bodufinolhu under control earlier in the morning after a large group of expatriate workers took some locals hostage during protests yesterday over unpaid wages.

A statement issued for the press by police just now read that 15 locals were barred from departing the island by some of the 203 expatriate workers on the island around 9:30 yesterday.

Officers from B. Thulhaadhoo police station that tried to land on the island yesterday were met with hostility by the migrants. In a second attempt, later on, around 50 officers from different islands across the region were also attacked by the migrants. Police said that the expatriates were armed with makeshift metal spears and threw rocks at officers.

As a result, one officer suffered head injuries while another suffered hand fractures. Some other officers also suffered minor injuries. 

Police have said that 19 expatriates believed to be behind the violence were arrested from the island.

Damage to property, infrastructure, and vehicles were also observed by police who are now on the island. No violence was reported in the landing attempt by police today. The expatriates are now cooperating with officers.

Police also said that two officials from the Bangladeshi embassy in the Maldives accompanied a special team of police officers that departed to the island late last night. Assitance by the officials resulted in a peaceful outcoming from the situation.

The migrants were protesting over almost four months of unpaid wages. MP for Milandhoo Ali Riza, who is the Managing Director of the company developing the resort, confirmed the news of unpaid wages last night. The MP said that COVID-19 had made it difficult for full wages to be paid.