At least six officers of the Maldives National Defence Forces have been detained at the military barracks, the Maldives Independent can reveal.
The six detained include two brothers, Mohamed Fawwaz and Abdul Fa’thah of southern Addu City, according to two informed sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Fa’thah served as a bodyguard to former President Mohamed Nasheed and other senior government officials.
“Fawwaz was in Addu when he was brought back and arrested. Fa’thah had not been home for two days according to his family, but now we know he has been detained inside the barracks,” an MNDF source said.
The allegations against the pair are unclear. The names of the rest are not yet known.
Major Adnan Mohamed, the MNDF spokesman, declined to comment.
Soon after rumours of the arrest began to circulate, Ali Waheed, the chairperson of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, called on President Abdulla Yameen to halt the arrest of security force officers.
“It may yield bitter results,” he warned in a tweet.
The ban comes amid renewed tension in Malé. Yameen is battling an opposition coalition seeking to remove him from power and a split within his own Progressive Party of the Maldives.
The Maldives United Opposition has vowed to arrest Yameen on charges of corruption.
The MNDF has meanwhile prohibited soldiers from meeting with politicians and all foreigners, including diplomats.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, soldiers were instructed not meet or engage in social events with “government ministers, political appointees by the president, members of the parliament, candidates seeking public office, activists of political parties, diplomats, members of armed forces of foreign countries, and other foreign parties without being granted prior permission from a senior military official.”
Yameen has instigated a series of purges of the security forces in his three-year tenure. In November 2013, days after assuming office, he fired nine senior ranking officers on charges of sowing discord.
The head of the armory was dismissed and others were shuffled when Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was arrested on weapons smuggling charges in January last year.
At least six were arrested that October on suspicion of links to an explosion on the president’s speedboat. Three of them are now serving jail terms on terror charges.