Five men were injured in a knife fight and a dinghy was set on fire Wednesday on the island of Dhiffushi in Kaafu atoll.
Three men were brought to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in the capital Malé, a police spokesman told the Maldives Independent. One man was treated at the island’s health centre and another was taken to the Thulusdhoo island hospital.
The fight started between two men but escalated into a mass brawl, the police spokesman explained.
No arrests have been made yet.
Dhiffushi islanders told local media that the violence occurred after a suspected robber confronted a group of people who were angry over a string of robberies, most recently the theft of MVR180,000 (US$11,650) from a shop.
The vigilante group banded together and sought out the alleged thief, island council member Ibrahim Sajid told Mihaaru.
“We were fed up with the robberies. That is why we decided come out and do the job ourselves. There was a large turnout. Many men and even women joined,” he said.
The stolen money was found in the house next door to the shop, according to Sajid. When the suspect was confronted, he came out with a knife and “sliced two people,” he added.
“But he was also injured when we intervened,” the councillor said.
A dinghy anchored at the harbour was meanwhile set ablaze around 1am. The unregistered nine-foot vessel with an outboard engine was damaged beyond use, police said.
The police have stepped up patrols on Dhiffushi after Wednesday night’s violence.