A police operation to curb gang violence in the capital is underway after the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old boy last week.
Police officers have been stopping and searching suspects and raiding known gang hangouts in Malé.
“We will not give opportunity for those attempting to make Malé and Addu City appear dangerous to normalise criminal activity,” police warned in a statement.
Briefing the press on Thursday, Superintendent Ahmed Shifan denied allegations that the recent spike in gang violence was linked to politicians.
“In our investigation until now, I can assure we found no political participation. We have not noticed this is done on orders by politicians. These are false stories.”
According to Shifan, 32 people were arrested in connection with assault, 17 of whom remain in custody.
In the wake of the 14-year-old’s murder, president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih tweeted: “Dangerous gang fights have increased across Maldives, the murder of children in the streets of Malé shows how this has gotten out of hand. God willing we will work together and make Maldives a peaceful place.”
Ahead of September’s presidential election, the home ministry announced they will no longer be tagging youth as they are “responsible and decent” following President Abdulla Yameen’s false claims about drop in crime rate.
Several stabbings, believed to have been reprisals between rival gangs, occurred in both the capital and the southernmost atoll during the past few months.
Last Wednesday, a 26-year-old man was assaulted near the Giyasuddin School in Malé. Later that night, five young men were arrested with knives on suspicion of preparing for a gang fight.
A young man who was stabbed near the Olympus theatre Monday night remains hospitalised.
On August 31, Ibrahim Agil was stabbed to death near the central bank building, a short distance from the police and military headquarters in the capital’s Republic Square.
More recently, a 22-year old man was stabbed during a gang fight in Addu City last Saturday. The victim remains in the intensive care unit at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in the capital.
There were 28 cases of assault reported in October.
My 11 year old sister got out of the house to go to school this morning, only to find a river of blood. Right in front of our doorstep.
Kid living next door was brutally murdered last night. He was only 14 years old.
Only 14 years old.
— Maacko (@maackoes) October 11, 2018