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Maldives beefs up security after Sri Lanka bombings

An emergency response exercise was conducted as border security was tightened.



The Maldives police and military conducted Sunday an emergency response exercise in the Greater Malé region in the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in the neighbouring Sri Lanka last month.

The one-day training exercise focused on “inter-agency coordination” in responding to the discovery of a bomb or improvised explosive device, Brigadier General Hamid Shafeeq told state media.

“We are testing our response and handling capabilities in countering terrorism and public protection through a joint exercise,” police chief Mohamed Hameed tweeted on Friday. “I am heading to the UK as part of a multi-agency delegation to engage with counterparts there to seek enhancement to our national capabilities on the same.”

The training exercise was conducted after top level discussions were held last week “to constitute inter-agency security structures and devise efficient national responses for possible eventualities,” according to the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.

On Thursday, the immigration department tightened visa rules as part of measures to strengthen border security.

As applications for special and business visas would be “subjected to a thorough screening process,” approval could take longer than the routine 48 hours, the immigration department noted.

Applicants were advised “not to board the flight to travel to Maldives prior to visa approval.”

Despite the security measures, the authorities have been tightlipped about the threat of a terrorist attack in the Maldives.

Last week, the counter-terrorism centre urged the public to share information or concerns by calling the hotline 1615 or emailing [email protected]. “Your identity will be confidential,” the NCTC assured.