Raids and rumours fuelling uncertainty in Malé
Police officers searched the office of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation office. Earlier in the night, the police raided the home of an influential businessman related to Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
Police are conducting a series of nighttime raids in Malé amid heightened tension and uncertainty in the capital.
The police have raided the home of an influential businessman related to Vice President Ahmed Adeeb as well as the office of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
2:00am: The police chief was seen outside the police headquarters by reporters. Police officers have dispersed the crowd gathered outside his house.
The president’s office and the home ministry refused to comment on tonight’s raids.
1:10am – Local TV stations are reporting that the court warrant authorizing the raid on the home of Hamid Ismail, a relative of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, earlier tonight was issued in connection to the explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat on September 28.
It authorised the seizure of CCTV camera footage and stated that police intelligence have learned of efforts to erase the footage and “destroy other evidence”.
The court warrant is also circulating on social media.
1:00am – Some police officers are now leaving the MMPRC office. Soldiers have also been spotted exiting the Velaanage building.
11:56pm – The police forensic team is still inside the MMPRC office. Journalists are waiting outside Velaanage. Riot police officers had earlier cleared the area after a small crowd gathered.
Soldiers are guarding the State Electricity Company (STELCO) building in Malé. Armed soldiers were deployed to the streets of Malé last week.
11:24pm – Dozens of people have gathered outside Galolhu Heyli, the home of Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed, following rumours of an impending raid.
There are no police officers near the police chief’s residence.
11:15pm – Police officers entered the MMPRC office around 10:30pm. The police said in a tweet that officers are searching the MMPRC office on the 4th floor of Velaanage.
Before the police raid, several Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers were seen at the MMPRC offices. An employee who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that the soldiers entered the offices earlier at night.
The police at the time denied media reports that police officers were also inside the MMPRC office along with the soldiers.
A state TV journalist reported seeing Abdulla Ziyath, managing director of MMPRC, go into Velaanage while the soldiers were inside.
Journalists posted photos of MNDF officers inside the building and some leaving the building. An MNDF spokesman declined to comment.
MMPRC ah van bae siafain nukumegen higajje pic.twitter.com/YcsvvXCDZZ
— Mohamed Afsal (@afsal_afey) October 16, 2015
Sirrun kameh kuran vee sababeh nei. Media ah nufenna gothah sifain ulhenee Velana building in nukunnah pic.twitter.com/EAJr0xOH30 — Hussain Hassan (@HucenHassan) October 16, 2015
Earlier tonight, police officers raided the home of Hamid Ismail, an influential businessman and relative of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
Hamid is the managing director of Gulf Craft, a fibreglass boat and yacht producer.
A police spokesman confirmed that police officers entered Shuraa Manzil in Malé’s Maafannu ward. The raid began at approximately 8pm and ended an hour later. Police carried out several brown paper boxes.
A previous attempt to raid Hamid’s home on Wednesday night was thwarted by a flawed court warrant.
Both Hamid and Adeeb are out of the country.
Hamid seytu ge in nerunu bae ecethi. gendhiya ee hurihaa comp eh ge hard drive tha pic.twitter.com/JRw7b6Xsvl
— Mohamed Afsal (@afsal_afey) October 16, 2015
The police spokesman declined to comment on the cause of the raid, but The Maldives Independent understands the raid is connected to a probe into an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat. The government says the September 28 blast was an assassination attempt.
Adeeb and his associates now appear to be suspects, though officials have said they are reluctant to point fingers until the inquiry is complete.
Dozens of police officers meanwhile raided the home of MMPRC Managing Director Ziyath on Wednesday. It is not clear if the raid is also connected to the boat blast probe.
Local media at the time said the search was connected to a complaint filed by the former owner of an online newspaper who alleged that he was forced to transfer ownership of Vaguthu by men who had said they were acting on Adeeb’s orders.
The chief judge of the criminal court Abdulla Mohamed met with Yameen last night, according to local media. Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed has meanwhile pledged full support for the investigation and said that the police “will not hesitate” to make the necessary arrests and carry out raids.