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On Victory Day, defence minister warns of corruption and foreign influence

November 3rd was the 30th anniversary of a violent coup attempt.



The degree of widespread corruption in the Maldives puts the country’s sovereignty at risk, Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar warned Saturday night at a function to commemorate Victory Day.

Victory Day marks the failed coup attempt by a group of Maldivians and Tamil mercenaries to overthrow former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on November 3, 1988.

Addressing soldiers at the Kalhuthuhkalaa Koshi military barracks in Malé, Shareef also accused unnamed foreign powers of targeting Islamic countries and acting under the guise of protecting human rights and freedoms to secretly topple governments.

“Powerful countries have the wisdom of a fox when dealing with these countries and they especially treat Islamic countries with the principles of the sea. Powerful countries stay under and isolate or impeach Islamic leaders by using their tactics,” he said.

It was unfair to prioritise the rights of politicians over the rights of the public as “everyone is equal in the face of the law”.

The outgoing administration faced international condemnation over the jailing of opposition leaders.

Shareef went on to urge institutions, lawmakers and civil society to combat corruption, which has “destroyed” civil matters in the country.

“If not, Maldivians will suddenly lose their sovereignty. Maldivians will be enslaved,” he warned.

There were attempts similar to the 1988 coup during President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year term, Shareef claimed.

He praised the outgoing president for his “boldness” and thanked the military for its work “in saving the country from falling into the abyss.”

He also thanked former president Gayoom and the government of India for their assistance in defeating the mercenaries in 1988.

Victory Day celebrations began Saturday morning with a dawn prayer congregation for soldiers and flag mounting at the martyrs monument in the capital.

The annual Victory Run encircling Malé began at 6am.

On Saturday evening, the Maldives National Defence Force held a musical drill display at the Republic Square. The drill will also be held at the capital’s suburbs on Sunday and Monday.

Some 19 people, including soldiers and two hostages taken by the fleeing mercenaries, were killed during the coup attempt, which was foiled after India deployed paratroopers to reclaim the capital.

At last year’s Victory Day ceremony Shareef warned of the dangers of secular, atheistic and extremist ideologies.

Photo from PSM