Maldives vows to capture escaped 1988 coup leader

Home minister Azleen Ahmed speaking to reporters. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Home minister Azleen Ahmed speaking to reporters. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Home minister Azleen Ahmed vowed to soon capture and bring back the escaped Abdullah Luthufee, the businessman who orchestrated the failed coup against the Maldives government on November 3, 1988.

Speaking at the ceremony held in the island of Fulidhoo in Vaavu atoll to celebrate Victory Day commemorating the Maldives’ victory over 1988’s attempted coup, the home minister disclosed that Luthufee’s passport has been officially cancelled, effectively preventing him from escaping his current hideaway. However, the minister did not reveal in which country Luthufee is in.

Luthufee in collaboration with Ahmed “Sagaru” Nasir of Addu atoll Hithadhoo island had hired Sri Lankan mercenaries to overthrow the then president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s government 28 years ago. Charged with treason and the murders of several innocents during the attempted coup, Luthufee had been put on death row before his sentence was changed to life imprisonment.

The traitor Abdullah Luthufee, who orchestrated the coup d'état of November 3, 1988.

The traitor Abdullah Luthufee, who orchestrated the coup d’état of November 3, 1988.

However, Luthufee had fled when he was sent abroad for medical treatment during former president Mohamed Nasheed’s regime. Rumours allege that he is currently living in the neighbouring country of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the Criminal Court has ordered the police to arrest and bring Luthufee back to the Maldives.

The home ministry had earlier offered a reward of MVR 100,000 to any informant that provides information allowing authorities to arrest Luthufee, who is said to be living under the fake moniker “Zaan”. The police are also probing allegations that Luthufee had faked documentations to go overseas for treatment.

The home minister further noted in his speech that all instances of external attacks on the Maldives were facilitated via treasonous individuals within the nation.

“Whether it is the Portuguese or Malabar armies or Tamil mercenaries (of Sri Lanka) who come to assault us, it is a truth that all of us should know that they came so because of a few traitors lusting after the power to rule,” he said, referring to previous attacks on the Maldives throughout history.

Minister Azleen also stressed that difference in opinion among the public should never compromise national security, especially as anti-defamation and freedom of speech are integrated into the Constitution.

Assuring that the government will make any sacrifice for the nation’s independence and peace, the home minister added that the nation’s defence force is prepared against any attacks the nation may ever have to face.

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