A video message has been posted on YouTube showing three men with guns threatening to kill President Abdulla Yameen and Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and launch terrorist attacks against the Maldives’ tourism industry.
The video was posted this afternoon by a user called ‘Slavery slave’ with the militant organisation Islamic State’s (IS) logo in the corner.
The three men with their faces covered with balaclavas warned of “life-threatening” attacks against the president and vice president as well as terrorist attacks against resorts if the government does not stop “harassing” Ibrahim ‘Sandhaanu’ Moosa Luthfy in Switzerland, release Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, and withdraw new anti-terrorism legislation.
“We will demolish the resorts of the economy that you depend on and start attacks and bombings to sink those resorts,” one of the men is heard saying in Dhivehi.
“So we are giving you a period of 30 days from today. If you do not accept our three conditions within 30 days, this is a warning that we will start our punishments against you.”
If the government does not comply with the demands, the man warned that the president and vice president must bear responsibility for the consequences and the resulting death of Maldivian citizens.
A police spokesperson told The Maldives Independent that he could not comment as the police have yet to see the video message. The home ministry’s media official could not be reached at the time of publication.
Hundreds of Maldivians are believed to be fighting with militant groups in the Middle East, but the authenticity of the video and its links to IS remain unclear.
A similar threat of violence was made against Jamaican dancehall singer Sean Paul shortly before new year’s eve. Paul subsequently cancelled his visit. A week later, American R&B artist Akon performed at a packed show in Malé without any security concerns.
Sheikh Imran was arrested on June 1 and charged with terrorism for allegedly inciting violence at a historic anti-government protest on May 1. He has been under police custody for more than 100 days. The terrorism trial has been stalled since June after two judges on the three-judge panel were promoted to the High Court.
The men also demanded that the government “immediately cease” its efforts to bring back ‘Sandhaanu’ Luthfy to the Maldives from Switzerland.
Luthfy resigned as President Yameen’s human rights envoy to the Maldives’ permanent mission in Geneva in February. He has since been a vocal critic of the current administration on social media.
Luthfy was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Gayoom administration for publishing an anti-government newspaper. He was granted clemency by Gayoom’s successor, former President Mohamed Nasheed and was appointed as an advisor to President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan in September 2012 after returning to the Maldives from self-imposed exile in Switzerland.
The government meanwhile submitted new anti-terrorism legislation to the parliament in late July. The bill is currently at the committee stage and is likely to be passed when the parliament returns from recess in October.
The proposed law would make it a criminal offence to travel overseas to join foreign civil wars.