Male, February 13 (newsin.asia): The Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), in a joint press conference held on Monday sent out a strong appeal to the public to be vigilant against attempts to incite and cause unrest among the population.
Citing intelligence reports of incitement, the security forces said that they would be closely monitoring such attempts to move beyond peaceful protest and threaten the public peace.
While investigations are ongoing on into recent incidents, the security forces assured the public of swift and decisive action in any instance of incitement to violence.
Meanwhile the Chinese Ambassador Zhang Lizhong’s straying into a protest demonstration of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Monday, went viral on the social media. But the envoy downplayed it saying it was a casual visit as a result of curiosity and that he had no axe to grind.
Zhang, who was appointed Ambassador last year, was seen mingling with the opposition protesters and had even posed for several pictures with the crowd.
The Ambassador’s presence in the protest had captured local media attention while it has sparked debate on social networking sites.
The ambassador however told AVAS that he had briefly stopped to “see” the protest on his way to the embassy.
Lizhong insisted that the visit was not in any official capacity and reiterated his government’s stand of not interfering with the ongoing political crisis in the Maldives.
“The protest was very near to the embassy. So on my way I just casually stopped near it. It was not official. I request you all not to blow it out of proportion,” he pleaded
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed as the apex court rejected the government’s ‘legal and judicial’ concerns over the order.
Since emergency state was declared police have made a series of high profile arrests including Gayoom, two lawmakers, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.
Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.
Police on Sunday had claimed that new evidence had been uncovered in connection to the plot adding that a total eight people had been arrested thus far over the case.
In the statement, police had claimed to have uncovered document evidence implicating the suspects to the case revealing that over USD200,000 along with over MVR150,000 were found in a bag that belonged to judge Ali Hameed.
Police also said judge Ali Hameed had purchased a flat with the bribe money and an unnamed company had “loaned” over USD2 million to the judge.
The latest accusations came after police had confirmed Gayoom had bribed the judges into issuing the order in a bid to overthrow the government.
The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother’s government.
The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom’s lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb’s brother in law Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.