Self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on Monday alleged that the growing influence of an ‘underworld’ in the Maldives was weakening the state and its institutions while it was also primarily responsible for recruiting local jihadists to join foreign conflicts.
Nasheed who now lives in self imposed exile in the UK after he was allowed to leave to Britain on medical leave in an internationally brokered deal was responding to comments made by defence minister Adam Shareef Umar who hours earlier had revealed that the number of locals fighting in foreign conflicts across the world had risen from 49 to 61.
The minister admitted to reporters earlier Monday that religious extremism remains a serious issue for the archipelago, but assured that the authorities were working together to counter the problem.
In that regard, the minister said authorities had managed to stop 68 people, which included women and children from leaving the country to join extremist groups.
Nasheed who has always remained vocal over the threat of extremism in the Maldives alleged that the ‘underworld had its fingers deep in state institutions’ and was responsible for sending locals to join jihadists in other countries.
“The underworld is also keeping president Yameen in power,” Nasheed said on Twitter.
Maldives authorities have looked to stem the flow of locals joining the Syrian war, where various sources claim that the Maldives has the highest number of fighters in Syria per capita.
The government has looked to take measures to curb the rising extremist ideologies in the island nation with the parliament in August passed a national policy on terrorism.
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Source URL: Google News