The Maldives police have released photos of two men they suspect to be involved in the brutal murder of outspoken blogger Yameen Rasheed, and called for public assistance to apprehend them.
However, they did not name or provide additional information about the suspects.
Two of the grainy photos were captured from a CCTV camera inside the stairway to Yameen’s building, where his body was found on Sunday with more than a dozen stab wounds, and a third was from a camera located outside the building.
Vowing to bring the killers to justice, Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdulla Nawaz said: “We have now seen those responsible for this murder, and in order to apprehend them, we, the police want to work with the public, and apprehend the perpetrators and successfully investigate the case.”
Nawaz said the police are working on enhancing the photos.
One of the suspects was wearing a chequered shirt, while the other had long hair and wore dark clothing. The third photo shows the pair getting on two separate motorcycles waiting outside.
Nawaz refused to take questions from the press saying the police are unable to share more information as the investigation is in its early stages.
The press conference prompted outrage online, with social media users saying police failure to name suspects demonstrated lack of progress.
Shahindha Ismail, the executive director of human rights group, the Maldivian Democracy Network, said: “36 hours is enough time for suspects to escape and leave the country. The question the public want answered at a time like this, is are the killers still at large?”
Opposition lawmaker and former police chief Abdulla Riyaz however praised the police, saying “it was safe to believe” the investigation was progressing at a fast pace.
“It is massive progress if they have already identified the suspects after analysing tonnes of video footage,” he said.
Yameen’s parents have meanwhile called on the government to include international investigators in the police inquiry into their son’s murder.
In a statement on Monday, they said they strongly believed that the police investigation will only be deemed credible if it includes investigators from reputable international organisations.
Expressing concern over police failure to make arrests as 48 hours passed, they said: “It is crucial that the authorities move fast to apprehend our son’s killers.”
Reporting by Saya Ahmed and Hassan Moosa