The police are searching for three young men to enforce monitoring and control (MoniCon) orders granted by the High Court to electronically tag and monitor their whereabouts.
A police spokesperson said the High Court issued a second batch of orders last Thursday for five more young men.
The police said in a statement this afternoon that two of the five are presently in custody in relation to separate on-going investigation. A manhunt is underway for the other three young men.
The police disclosed the identities of the five men but did not reveal which of the five are missing.
Electronic tags will be attached to the feet of the alleged gang members, who will be required to stay home between 10:00pm and 6:00am. They cannot leave the capital without the home minister’s permission and must avoid designated areas.
Home Minister Umar Naseer told local media that the suspects will be “taken straight to jail” if they violate the curfew.
The police are also authorised to control their communications and financial transactions and require the suspects to periodically appear at the police headquarters. Electronic tagging devices can also be placed in the suspect’s home environment.
The 11 young men have repeatedly committed serious crimes and pose a danger to public safety, the police said.
The MoniCon orders were sought after two gangs in Malé accused the police of covering up an “illegal and unprovoked” assault by Specialist Operations officers on Friday night that left many injured. The police are also accused of ransacking three gang hangouts.
Sources told The Maldives Independent station that the incident occurred after a police officer intervened when some gang members had tried to leave a restaurant without paying the bill. But the officer was allegedly assaulted by the gang members, who also later found the officer’s home and threatened his family.
When senior police officers failed to take immediate action, the source said the beaten SO officers’ colleagues acted on their own and raided the three gang hangouts and beat people there.
According to the opposition-aligned Raajje TV and CNM, SO officers are unhappy with the police leadership, who they say need to bear responsibility for the fight with the gangs.
Victims of the assault told The Maldives Independent that some 24 officers in riot gear had barged into Masodige in Galholhu ward and Jade in Maafannu ward without court warrants. Many had to seek medical attention for injuries, they said.
Raajje TV also reported that some 13 SO officers were briefly suspended, but a police spokesperson denied the claim.
An SO officer meanwhile told CNM that it would not be fair to investigate the elite officers without taking into account the negligence of senior officers.
The home minister and police chief have defended the police, condemning intimidation and threats against police officers and their families and causing damage to the homes of police officers as “unacceptable.”
The first six suspected gang members who were tagged last week were Fassan Waleed, 20, Athif Abdul Haleem, 24, Midhuhath Abubakuru, 20, Mohamed Shaabil Ismail, 23, Ahmed Rizam, 26, and Fasil Hameed, 25.
The second batch of MoniCon orders was issued for Mohamed Mafaz Hussain Saleem, 18, Assad Ibrahim Rasheed, 21, Hamdhan Hassan, 18, Musthafa Moosa, 26, and Ahmed Azman, 20.