Foreign Office Warning After Tourist Stabbing
The Foreign Office is warning visitors to the Maldives to be extra vigilant after three foreigners were stabbed in an attack this week which was later claimed by extremists linked to Islamic State
Three suspected Islamic extremists were arrested in the Maldives following the attack on two Chinese nationals and an Australian in the newly reclaimed island of Hulhumalé just north of the country’s international airport.
The island is one of the few in the archipelago where tourists, foreign workers and locals mix. Most foreign tourists stay on isolated resort islands.
The men are all recovering in hospital and are reported to be stable.
A Maldivian group affiliated with the Islamic State group have taken responsibility for the attack in a video posted online. In the video three masked men accused the Maldivian government of being run by 'infidels' and warned of more attacks to come.
One of the Chinese nationals was a tourist and the two others were employed in the country, police said, adding all three were in a stable condition.
The Maldives was one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for Isis with more than 200 men going to Syria and Iraq in recent years. Out of a population of 400,000 this made the Maldives one of the largest per capita sources of foreign Isis fighters. More than 150 Maldivians are still being held in Syria suspected as jihadists.
Hulhulmalé is a recently developed island built to provide housing for locals and to be a basis for industrial development.
• Yesterday the Maldives chief of police apologised after a bikini-clad tourist was arrested. A video circulating on social media shows a woman with a British accent being detained by at least three officers on the island of Maafushi, in the Kaafu atoll, which is also an island where locals and tourists mix.
She can be heard repeatedly shouting ‘You are sexually assaulting me’ as police struggle to put her in handcuffs. Another man can be seen covering part of her body with a towel as she is led away.
Following her arrest, Maldives Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Hameed issued a public apology to the woman, saying the incident appeared to have been ‘badly handled’ by officers.