Maldives Police Service has arrested a man they believe to be a top propagator of extremism in Maldives.
According to the police, the suspect - identified as a 49-year-old Maldivian male - was arrested from Male’ City on Tuesday night.
Sun is able to confirm the identity of the suspect as Abdulla Ali Manik (Bahaaruge, HA. Molhadhoo), who was imprisoned in connection to the violence in HA. Himandhoo back in 2007, when a group of separatists propagated extremist religious ideologies, and faced off with the security forces armed with wooden bats, sharpened metal rods and machetes.
Security services raided Himandhoo stating the group of separatists were harboring suspects of the Sultan's Park bombing in 2007, which left 12 tourists injured.
Police believe Abdulla Ali Manik to be a top recruiter of Maldivians for militant activities overseas in the name of ‘jihad’, and holding separate communal prayers and holding classes to propagate extremist ideologies.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to the Himandhoo violence in 2008. He escaped from prison twice during that time.
His first prison escape was in 2009. He was later found living in GDh. Thinadhoo, and during his transfer to Male’ City, made another escape attempt by jumping overboard, off the coast of V. Fulidhoo.
His second prison escape was in 2010. He was found a year later living in K. Thilafushi. Police reported at the time that he had been heavily disguised.
He walked free after completing his prison term.
Abdulla Ali Manik’s arrest comes at the wake of the terror attack earlier this May targeting Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed.
A homemade remote-controlled IED was strapped to motorcycle parked nearby Nasheed’s residence, and was detonated at 08:27 pm on May 6, just as Nasheed, 54, exited his residence and went to get in his car. Nasheed was thrown to the ground and sustained multiple shrapnel wounds, while three members of his security detail and two bystanders sustained minor wounds.
Police are treating the case as a targeted terror attack to assassinate Nasheed. They have made three arrests in connection to the case: Ahmed Adhuham Rasheed, 26, Hiyaa, GDh. Thinadhoo; Mujaz Ahmed, 21, Ma. Feyruge, K. Male’; and Thahmeen Ahmed, 32, Folheyma, GA. Kondey. Adhuham is believed to be the man who detonated the IED.
It is unclear whether Abdulla Ali Manik is linked with the case.
The police and MNDF have upped their alert level in response to the attack. And Home Minister Imran Abdulla previously stated that the police and MNDF will take joint measures to strengthen security measures in Maldives.
The police and MNDF conducted a joint counter-terror operation in Addu City last week, in which seven suspects were arrested. Three of the suspects were remanded in custody for 15 days, and the remaining four suspects for 7 days earlier this week.