Two 14-year-old boys died of stab injuries in Malé on Friday, prompting Home Minister Umar Naseer to announce a “tough love” rehabilitation camp for young criminal offenders.
Ahmed Irushan was attacked on the western end of Malé’s thoroughfare Majeedhee Magu at 5:30pm. Two men on motorcycles first assaulted him with a wooden plank and a second pair on a separate motorbike stabbed him in the neck afterwards, local media report.
He died at the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital at around 8pm.
The second attack, thought to be a revenge killing, occurred at approximately 9pm.
Fathir Mohamed was stabbed in the back three times outside his home in the Maafannu ward. He died an hour later at IGMH.
No arrests have been made over the two killings.
The police arrested 19 people in a subsequent crime control operation in Malé, but they were not related to the two killings, a spokesman said.
“They were arrested on the suspicion of planning violent attacks.”
Seven were arrested from Dhoohimerige in Henveiru ward, seven from Jade in Maafannu ward and four from Lonumidhilige in the same ward. The three houses are linked to notorious gangsters.
Naseer told pro-government online newspaper Avas that he plans to send off minors involved in gangs to a police training facility on the island of Vaanee in Dhaalu Atoll.
“We are taking all minors associated with gangs to Dhaalu Atoll Vaanee. This is an ongoing effort, they will all be taken there in the beginning of this month. We will take them if they are found at crime scenes,” he said.
He blamed criminality on what he called a policy of blind love from parents of young offenders, and said it was now time for “tough love.”
Gang leaders are now being monitored through electronic tags, a measure introduced in the new anti-terrorism law, he said. He also pledged to stop gangsters from stopping at specific places in the future.
The killings have sparked outrage, with some accusing the government of prioritising a stop to the opposition’s activities over crime. At the time of the deaths, more than 50 police officers were dispersing a crowd gathered for a pre-Ramadan feast organized by the Maldivian Democratic Party.
2 fatal stabbings in 1 day. now how much is too much?
this country need to sort out her priorities & do something about gang violence. :/
— fasy (@fasyibrahim) June 3, 2016
Two stabbings in one night while @PoliceMv too busy stopping a harmless maahefun.
— Haman (@OfficialHaman) June 3, 2016
14 year olds are not supposed to be stabbing each other and fearing for their lives. They’re supposed to be fearing the upcoming exams!
— Naana (@NaanaNimal) June 3, 2016
Trust me, this is what whole police force was busy at , meanwhile 2 kids was murder happens less than a km pic.twitter.com/EdyoxJbm4K
— ShafiuJameel (@ShafiuJameel) June 3, 2016
Children born in 2002, our hopes for the new millennium: https://t.co/5wHavU4ZIm
— MV Civic Education (@MVCivicEd) June 4, 2016
Last weekend before Ramadan and tonight on the menu is death and bloodshed. ‘Maahefun’ the Maldivian way, of course.
— Alha (@Alha_AliRasheed) June 3, 2016
Naseer responded by saying the MDP was at fault. He appeared to call former President Mohamed Nasheed a “drug addict.”
Fighting drugs is long & difficult because of the ‘Boveyne Boan jeheyne’, cult, with a drug addict as its leader. pic.twitter.com/DpOor5D0tB
— Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) June 4, 2016
Four people have died of violent crime this year.
Photo from Avas
Correction: June 4, 2012
An earlier version of this article misstated the names of the victims of the fatal stabbings. Ahmed Irushan, not Fathir Ahmed, was stabbed at 5:30pm. Fathir Mohamed, not Ahmed Irusham, was stabbed at 8pm.