MayTerrorAttack: Defence Minister Mariya ignored critical intelligence!

Defence Minister Mariya Didi seen at ADK Hospital where Speaker Mohamed Nasheed is being treated following the injuries he suffered after an explosive was set off near his car on May 6, 2021 | Photo: Nishan Ali

Malé, Maldives – Inquiry report compiled by the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee) has revealed that Defence Minister Mariya Didi did not follow procedure after getting the information of a possible assassination attack on Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed.

According to the 241 Committee’s Inquiry Report on May 6, 2021 attack on Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, which was published last night after redacting confidential information regarding national security revealed that parliament member of Hulhudhoo constituency, Ilyas Labeeb had informed Minister Mariya of a possible attack and that Minister Mariya had not shared the information with the leadership of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) or any other relevant parties.

In a statement released by MP Ilyas on May 14, 2021 following Minister Mariya’s interview to a local media stating that no credible information was received, MP Ilyas told that he had first informed Speaker Nasheed of the information he had received from a civilian and as per the Speakers instructions that he called and informed Minister Mariya as Defence Ministry and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) was responsible for the security of state heads.

MP Ilyas had also revealed that he received intel from a friend, that a terror attack was being planned again the speaker with a funding of USD 3 million which was informed to Minister Mariya immediately.

The 241 Committee’s inquiry report revealed that even though MP Ilyas had called to inform Minister Mariya of the information he received, Minister Mariya did not see it as relevant according to her answers during the parliament inquiry.

Defence Minister Mariya had told MP Ilyas that Speaker Nasheed’s security was being followed up by Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). Minister Mariya had told local media that Speaker Nasheed’s security was increased to the highest level two months ago even before the parliamentarian had given the information. 

“…one of the reasons given by Defence Minister Mariya Didi for not sharing the information she received from MP Ilyas through a phone call with anyone was that she did not see that as relevant or credible intelligence”

241 Committee’s Inquiry Report on May 6, 2021 attack on Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed

It was also revealed in the 241 Committee’s Inquiry Report on May 6, 2021 attack that Defence Minister Mariya had not even attempted to get additional information related to the matter which was brought to her by MP Ilyas and that she had told that she does not categorize any information which is given over the phone without any names or leads which can be persuaded.

Any information received relating to someone who is categorized under “critical” cannot be disregarded like that as per the professionals from MNDF who had given information to this inquiry.

241 Committee’s Inquiry Report on May 6, 2021 attack on Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed

While Minister Mariya has been vigorously criticized for not sharing the critical information which she had received, she previously told that no “credible and actionable intelligence” was received about the actual attack.

Parliamentarians and the general public has been calling out to take action against those who had been negligent in doing their job in relation to the May 6, 2021 attack as per the recommendations in the 241 Committee’s inquiry report.

The IED explosion went off around 20:20 on 6 May leaving Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed critically injured while he was getting in to his car near his house, G. Kenereege, Malé City. In addition to him, 3 more people were also been reported to be injured from the explosion including the Speaker’s bodyguards and bystanders.

Nasheed was brought in with heavy bleeding, and both internal and external shrapnel injuries. Ball bearings were found in Nasheed’s chest, near the heart. Injuries caused by these projectiles caused life threatening damage to the chest area. Nasheed endured major injury to the fourth rib, with a blade going through a lung. A projectile also went through his intestine with another near his liver. 

Speaker Nasheed was treated at the Critical Care Unit of ADK hospital in Malé until May 13, 2021 and was airlifted to Germany yesterday for recovery and rehabilitation. Parliament had revealed that Speaker Nasheed’s medical expenses in Germany is being covered by Honorary Consul of Maldives in Germany, Christian Von Stetten.

In the press conference held by Ministry of Defence and MNDF on May 7, 2021, Chief of Defence Force, Major General Abdulla Shamaal told that the IED was an improvised one which was controlled remotely and set off as Speaker Nasheed was about to get in to his car last night. 

He also added that the IED was several times stronger than the one which was set off at Sultan Park in 2007 and also revealed that last nights one had ball bearings inside as shrapnel to increase the damage caused.

Chief Shamaal told that intelligence information is being received constantly and is dynamic and that they continuously act on intelligence inputs in making decisions. He further added that the procedures, training and education of the armed forces have been revised and capacity development has been increased drastically in order to accommodate such changing conditions in which they had to work.

He also told that MNDF leadership believed that there was a hand of any MNDF personnel involved in the attack and that no such information was received so far as well. Chief Shamaal also commended the response of the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel who were giving protection to Speaker Nasheed following the blast.

Speaker Nasheed previously revealed that he has recovered from majority of his injuries except a few injuries to his leg and elbow. Speaker Nasheed remains currently in the United Kingdom after spending over a month in Germany following his release from the German medical hospital on May 21, to receive further treatment with the medical advice of his doctors in Germany.

Speaker Nasheed has been slowly engaging in political activities as well, as he recovers from the injuries. He recently honoured an MDP online meeting to commorate their 16th anniversary.