Soldiers were deployed to the streets of Malé at midnight on Saturday in the wake of clashes between riot police officers and a number of gangs.
Local media reported that some 24 police officers raided and vandalized three gang hangouts in Malé, and injured several young men.
Photos circulating on social media show bleeding ears, cuts, bruises, head injuries, and pools of blood spilled on the floor. Other photos also show broken tables and TV sets.
Ismail Ali, a police spokesman, denied reports of vandalism and assault, claiming the Friday operation’s aim was to curb a fight between rival gangs in Malé. He said the police’s professional command is investigating reports of police assault.
Some 13 people were arrested after the raids.
The operation is still ongoing, he said.
Victims told opposition-aligned Raajje TV and pro-government Vaguthu that a group of Specialist Operations police barged into Masodige in Henveiru ward, the hangout for the Masodi gang, and beat up several people there, even hitting one on the head with a table.
The officers did not carry a court warrant, they said
“I was sitting on a sofa playing with my phone when 24 SOs on 12 motorcycles arrived, 12 SOs barged in and beat us with batons, tables and chairs,” one victim, who received treatment at the hospital, said.
Police also raided Maafaanu Jade and allegedly smashed in one young man’s teeth and beat him until he fell unconscious.
The opposition Adhaalath Party has called for a thorough investigation of the incident.
“We condemn the vandalism and attacks by individuals though to be policemen, and call for a thorough investigation.”
The opposition has previously accused SO officers of chopping down all of Male City’s areca palms, while former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, jailed on a charge of smuggling weapons, claims SO officers planted a pistol and three bullets in his apartment.
The police have denied both claims.
No one was arrested over the chopping of Areca palms.