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Security forces conduct late-night raids for weapons in Malé

Armed soldiers and police officers have entered at least three houses in Malé tonight in search of weapons. The ongoing raids are part of the investigation into an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat.



Armed soldiers and police officers entered at least three houses in Malé tonight in search of weapons.

The raids began at midnight in a narrow lane in the central Machangoalhi ward of Malé. Gulaabee Magu was cordoned off as armed soldiers entered a house called Raufathge. They then entered the house next door called Golden Beam.

A resident of Raufathge said armed soldiers presented a warrant authorising a search of the entire building for weapons.

The raids are part of an investigation into an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat on September 28. Yameen escaped unhurt, but First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim remains hospitalized.

In the eastern ward of Henveiru, security forces also raided Hilton, the home of Azlif Rauf, a suspect in the murder of a parliamentarian in 2012. Azlif is reported to have been killed during battle in Syria.

His brother Arlif Rauf was arrested earlier this week on an unknown charge.

Local media claimed that the police had found a pistol, but various outlets carried contradicting reports of where the pistol was discovered. A police spokesman declined to comment.

Security forces have raided multiple residences in Malé and at least two islands leased for resort development since the boat blast.

The commission investigating the blast has said that the explosion was caused by a bomb targeting Yameen. According to the commission, Saudi Arabian forensic experts found traces of powerful explosives on the boat.

Vice President Ahmed Adeeb appears to be the main suspect. The majority of the raids took place on Adeeb’s residences and the homes of his associates. Adeeb was arrested on October 24 on suspicion of plotting the alleged assassination attempt. Some eight buildings were raided on the day of his arrest.

Three soldiers, all explosives experts, have also been arrested and two soldiers are under administrative detention at the military barracks.

Meanwhile, Hamid Ismail, an influential businessman related to Adeeb, has been arrested in Malaysia. Another top tourism official is also under custody, but on a charge of corruption. The company he heads, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), was closed down last week for illegally importing fireworks that are alleged to have been used in the making of the explosive device on the boat.

The defence minister and the police chief have also been sacked in an ongoing shake up of the security forces.

Adeeb is accused of obstructing the inquiry by exerting influence over the police force. He has denied any involvement in the blast.