Three men have been arrested on suspicion of trying to abduct the younger sister of a 19-year-old woman who went missing last month.
On Monday, police intercepted a small boat with three men who had left Maamendhoo island in Laamu atoll with a 16-year-old girl. The suspects were aged, 22, 24 and 26, police said.
According to media report, the girl is the younger sister of the missing Aminath Shima Nafiz.
Shima went missing en route from Fonadhoo to her native Maamendhoo on February 22. She had been travelling with 24-year-old Ibrahim Fazeel on a dinghy after arriving at the Laamu atoll domestic airport from the capital Malé.
Fazeel was reportedly among the three suspects arrested at sea with the younger sister.
On Monday, the magistrate court in Laamu Gan remanded the suspects to police custody for 15 days.
According to Fazeel, the dinghy he was traveling on with Shima had capsized due to rough seas. He claimed he swam to the Six Senses resort to seek help after leaving Shima with a mobile phone and jerry can to be used as a flotation device.
But Shima’s family questioned Fazeel’s account, prompting a police investigation.
The Maldives National Defence Force’s coastguard is still searching for Shima and the capsized dinghy. The police and Maamendhoo islanders have been assisting with the search effort, which has yet to yield any sign nearly three weeks later.
The MNDF also used diving robots to search a 400km area underwater.