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Bullet parts discovered on Maldives island

Parts of bullets used in military training exercises have been discovered in an island in north-central Raa Atoll, according to the police.



Parts of bullets used in military training exercises have been discovered on an island in north-central Raa Atoll, according to the police.

The bullet parts were found during a drug operation on Dhuvaafaru Island, a spokesman said.

Mohamed Jameel, a member of the Dhuvaafaru Council, said that police and military officers had been active on the island since Tuesday night.

“This morning police with a small group of soldiers started an operation. A few houses have been raided with court orders and around five men were summoned for questioning,” he said.

Although the police have claimed there was no connection between the bullet parts and the drug operation, Jameel said the police summons sent to one of the five men brought in “explicitly stated that he was to be questioned over the possession of weapons.”

Abdulla Easa, a Dhuvaafaru islander, told the Maldives Independent that the bullet parts were shells brought back by fishermen from the Lhaviyani Atoll Maafilaafushi Island, which houses a military training facility.

“Some sea cucumber harvesters apparently found some bullet shells from Maafilaafushi and they brought them back to the island,” he said.

No arrests have been made yet.

Major Adnan Mohamed, the army spokesman, declined to reveal details but confirmed that the Maldives National Defence Forces had participated “in an operation” with the police force on Dhuvaafaru.

Today’s incident follows the discovery of a large cache of weapons in October from the reef of an island leased for tourism. Weeks later in November, President Abdulla Yameen, citing missing weapons from the state armoury and bomb threats, declared a state of emergency.

At the time, the security forces also claimed to have safely defused an improvised explosive device found near the state house Muleeaage in Malé. Four people were arrested and continue to be detained over the incident.

Prior to that, Yameen had escaped unhurt from an explosion board his speedboat in September, but the First Lady and two aides were injured.

The government insists that the mysterious blast was caused by a bomb targeting the president, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had found no evidence of an explosive device.

The army was deployed to the streets in the wake of the blast and then-Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and several of his associates were arrested. Adeeb is now standing trial for carrying a weapon in an unrelated incident.

Security forces also conducted extensive raids in Malé in October and November and claimed to have found a pistol. A husband and wife were arrested over the incident, but the woman was released in December.