Male [Maldives], Sept 4 (ANI): Terming radical Islam as the biggest challenge in Indian ocean region, former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed on Wednesday said the Al Qaeda and the ISIS are creating a “deep state” in the Maldives and are capturing strategic positions in security institutions.
Speaking at the Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) here, Nasheed said: “Al Qaeda and ISIS are developing a deep state within the Maldives. They are capturing strategic positions in security forces, in the police, in the military, in immigration, in education ministry and therefore the deep state is able to influence.”
Nasheed termed radical Islam as the ‘biggest challenge’ for the Indian Ocean Region.
On April 21, an ISIS attack rattled Sri Lanka when multiple blasts ripped through the island nation on the Easter Sunday. The explosions rattled churches and high-end hotels across the country, killing 258 people and injuring over 500.
A local Jihadi group and ISIS affiliate — National Thowheeth Jama’ath — had claimed the responsibility for the devastating attacks, which had been widely condemned.
Dwelling further on the spreading tentacles of ISIS, Nasheed said: “In the last 40 years, a very radical version of Islam is being propagated in the Maldives and much of South Asia that has created a breeding ground for extremists and jihadi movements. Unfortunately, so many Maldivians went to fight in Syria”.
Highlighting the presence of ISIS networks in the region, he said: “Those who went to fight in Syria was because of the fact that there was a strong network built for recruiting people from the Maldives.”
A day before yesterday Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih appointed a commission to look into disappearances and deaths in the last five years. The commission has established that they were killed by Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Nasheed expressed confidence that the new government will be able to “dismantle” the deep state.
“We are very confident that the new government will rise to this challenge. We will be able to dismantle the deep state. We are in their hitlist but must continue this work. The challenge to the Indian Ocean is from radical Islam if Maldives fall to a bunch of terrorists it can happen anywhere,” he said.
“First they eat into the system and then attack and then there is no defence. We must be mindful to deal with it,” Nasheed added.
Yesterday similar sentiments were echoed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while highlighting the shifting focus of ISIS in the region. He called upon all stakeholders to find a way to deal with the ISIS firmly.
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