A 27-year-old Bangladeshi man arrested in connection with the murder of a Maldivian man in charge of an ice plant on the island of Ihavandhoo has confessed to the police.
Ismail Umar, 54, an engineer from the island of Hinnavaru in Lhaviyani atoll, was found dead with multiple stab wounds inside the ice plant on Friday afternoon.
Sumon Mia, the Bangladeshi suspect who has confessed to the murder, was working under the victim at the ice plant, the police said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
“And the police have now found the knife Sumon Mia used to attack Ismail Umar as well as the clothes that he was wearing at the time,” the police said.
Four expatriate suspects are also in custody on suspicion of involvement in the murder.
An employee at the ice plant called the Ihavandhoo police station around 4:23 pm on Friday because Ismail Umar’s phone was off and the doors to the ice plant’s accommodation and office blocks were locked with the lights on.
Police officers saw blood on the door to the accommodation and office block and found Ismail’s mutilated body inside the ice processing unit.
Ismail was last seen in the early hours of Thursday morning before he went back to the ice plant after the pre-dawn suhoor meal.
Ismail and Sumon were both living at the ice plant of the state-owned Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company. The four other local employees, three men from Ihavandhoo and one from Fares-Maathoda, lived with their families on the island.
According to local media, Ismail and the other ice plant workers had reported Sumon as missing to the police on Wednesday. He was said to have taken a dinghy to the nearby island of Hoarafushi.
The Ihavandhoo island council has meanwhile taken several restrictive measures against expatriates in the wake of the murder. Three Bangladeshis were previously convicted of the murder of a 16-year-old girl from the island in 2002.
The approximately 200 foreign workers who reside on the northern island have been asked to register at the council within five days. Those who fail to do so would face deportation as undocumented workers.
With effect on Sunday, the council has also imposed a curfew of 10 pm for foreigners with the exception of security guards. Gathering in groups in public places will only be allowed between 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Fridays.
Expatriates have also been prohibited fishing, collecting wood, fronds or coconuts, and participating in events without an invitation.
Some 130,000 migrant workers are believed to reside in the Maldives, including 60,000 undocumented workers, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi and Indian men working in the construction sector.
In April, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi construction worker was found dead on the island of Fonadhoo in Laamu atoll. Three expatriate suspects were taken into custody.
The murder of a third migrant worker in 2015 had prompted expatriates to plan a protest in Malé. But the demonstration was called off after the department of immigration threatened to cancel visas and take action against the employers of the migrant workers participating in the protest.