L. Gan, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has revealed that there have been 32 deaths in Maldives due to gang violence over the past 15 years.
According to the statistics released by Maldives Police Service at the third Viavathi Raajje conference held in Gan Island of Laamu Atoll, there are a total of 1,506 people who belong to known gangs in the island nation out of which 605 are living in the southern part of the country.
Number of gangs operating in the south:
- Thaa Atoll: 2 gangs
- Laamu Atoll: 5 gangs
- Huvadhoo Atoll: 3 gangs
- Fuvahmulah City: 8 gangs
- Addu City: 13 gangs
Police also stated that gangs have become more organized in the small island nation and that some gang leaders have bought lands in islands and started to operate guesthouses.
In addition to this, police also revealed that some gangs have purchased fishing vessels and also operate shops in the Maldives. Gangs have also been influencing politicians and government bodies according to police, especially to the courts.
Police released the statistics while 2 of their Drug Enforcement Department officers were attacked during their off duty hours on the afternoon of September 9, 2022 by a known gang from Henveiru ward of Malé City.
Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed had previously told that more support was needed for the force to protect their officers and serve the communities better. He also noted that there is a wider systems need to increase the holistic effort to tackle violent crime groups and trafficking of narcotic drugs in the country.
Gang violence in the Maldives is becoming increasingly commonplace and the nature of violence more brutal as new types of drugs and weapons are used. Recent attacks on police officers comes while Police and Maldives National Defence Force have been carrying out a joint exercise to counter gangs since earlier this year.