Maldives army bars soldiers from meeting politicians and foreigners

Maldives army bars soldiers from meeting politicians and foreigners
August 11 03:11 2016

The Maldives National Defence Forces has banned soldiers from meeting politicians and foreigners including diplomats without permission.

In a statement on Wednesday, the MNDF said: “Soldiers are not to meet with ministers, political appointees, MPs, candidates seeking public office, political party activists, diplomats, officers of foreign armies and other foreigners without express permission from a senior military official.”

MNDF officers have also been barred from social gatherings attended by politicians and foreigners.

The surprise announcement comes amid renewed tension in Malé as President Abdulla Yameen battles an opposition coalition seeking to remove him from office.

The Maldives United Opposition, a coalition of opposition parties and former senior government officials, has vowed to arrest the president on charges of corruption and human rights abuses.

Yameen is also under fire from the international community over authoritarian reversals, and is engaged in a bitter struggle with his half brother and former president of 30 years, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, for the control of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives.

Yameen has instigated a series of purges of the security forces in his three-year tenure. In November 2014, days after assuming office, he fired nine senior ranking officers on charges of sowing discord.

The head of the armory was dismissed and others were shuffled when Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was arrested on weapons smuggling charges in January last year.

At least six were arrested that October on suspicion of links to an explosion on the president’s speedboat. Three of them are now serving jail terms on terror charges.