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Parliament’s 06th May Terror Attack Report Highlights Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi’s Negligence.

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The Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 committee) has publicized their inquiry report into the 06th May terror attack which was targeted at the Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed.

The highly anticipated report highlighted major issues surrounding interagency intelligence exchange and support systems. However, the report laid bare on the Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi’s possible negligence in thwarting the 06th May terror attack.

According to section 10.17.8, the Hulhudhoo Constituency MP Ilyas Labeeb had informed Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi of a possible attack against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed after he received a tipoff. Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi stated that she did not inform any other intelligence units, within the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldives Police Service (MPS).

She justified that under Article 19-1 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, that information on an act of terrorism should be relayed to the MPS and not the Defence Minister. She also stated that there was no legal need for the Hulhudhoo Constituency MP Ilyas Labeeb to relay the tipoff to her, and insisted that she is under no obligation to pass on the information on the attack to the MPS, herself.

However, Article 19-3 (e) of the Anti-Terrorism Act states that in addition to the intelligence units, any information gathered on a possible act of terrorism by any state authority should be immediately relayed to the intelligence units mentioned in the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi also stated that she did not inform the Defence Intelligence Service (DIS) of the tipoff on the attack against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed because the Speaker’s security threat level was already at critical. She stated that even if she had informed the DIS of the possible attack, the threat level would have remained critical.

The inquiry report also noted that the Maldives National Defence Force did engage in patrolling the streets of the capital city following the 06th May terror attack. When questioned on the subject, Defence Minister Mariya Ali Didi, according to the inquiry report stated that the MNDF does not have the legal powers to patrol the streets of the capital city and that the power lies with the MPS.

However, the inquiry report noted that Article 28-4 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act states that, in the event of a possible act of terrorism or after an act of terrorism using weaponry or explosives, the MNDF will lead the efforts in protecting the society and taking preventive measures.

The content of the report is speculated to cause major political upheaval within the ruling Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) and its coalition partners. Conditions remain fragile within the ruling party as factions loyal to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker Mohamed accuse each other undermining and sidelining each other.

Moreover, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed’s daughter and his supporters have already accused Minister Mariya Ali Didi of being involved in the attack and have called for her resignation.

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MPS still under Home Minister: PO

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President’s Office on Tuesday stated that though Maldives Police Service (MPS) is now operating as an independent entity, the Home Minister is still the responsible figure for the agency.

Following the ratification and implementing of MPS Act, MPS would function as an independent entity, with various internal governing bodies. The Home Minister will be responsible for overseeing the body but will have no control over day to day operations.

Confusion reigned supreme following a letter sent by President’s Office to the Home Affairs, stating that MPS would function as an independent entity effective from March 27, 2021. The letter also stated the Ministry’s functions and roles following this decision.

Clause 242 of the Constitution mandates that all government and government associated agencies be overseen by a Minister.

The statement issued by President’s Office said that Home Minister Sheikh Imran would still oversee the agency.

In response to the change, Minister Imran tweeted that ‘challenges’ were natural and expected. He added that success was in perseverance.

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Tourism Ministry sets three-year period for resorts to open

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Minister of Tourism Dr Abdullah Mausoom has revealed that the Ministry intends to automatically revoke the islands leased for resort development, if the developers fail to open the property within a three-year period.

Speaking to local newspaper, Mihaaru, the Minister revealed that this was already in the plans and a new agreement will be signed based on this principle.

Statistics by Tourism Ministry in 2020, show that over 50 resorts were still under development, with parties filing to extend the permits for 21 islands. Some of the leased islands have been listed as under development for over 10 years.

This, he said, was being implemented to urge developers to finish developing the property and begin operations. Minister Mausoom noted that most citizens living close to islands under development had raised their concerns over delays.

The Minister had previously said that Tourism sustained severe losses due to the pandemic. While the sector aims to bring in 1.3 million tourists, there are several challenges including a new mutation of the delta strain detected in the UK and limitations of the airport to cater for arrivals.

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U23 national team departs for Bahrain

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The under 23 national football team has departed to Bahrain for training ahead of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

The qualifiers will be held in Uzbekistan from the 27th to the 31st of this month.

The team is accompanied by Assistant Coaches Sabah Mohamed and Mohamed Shahid. They will play two practice matches in Bahrain before heading to straight to qualifiers in Uzbekistan. The team had also carried out successful training camps in the atolls.

Maldives will face off against Iraq on 27th October, against Bahrain on 29th October, and Afghanistan on 31st October.

Competing nations are divided into 11 groups. First place winners will go into the Asian Cup. Additionally, four top-performing teams from the second placed nations will proceed to the Cup.

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