What was unthinkable in Male even five years ago is now a regular occurrence. In the last twelve month alone 5 young men lost their lives to what the authorities are describing as gang-related violence. To my knowledge nobody involved in any of those murders has been brought to justice. Knifings by young people, who're barely 16, are now commonplace in this once bustling but relatively crime-free island capita, and people are right to ask what law enforcement is doing about it?
When staff of One And Only Reethi Rah recently protested peacefully against discrimination and the lack of implementation of the employment act by the management, the then home minister Gasim Ibrahim dramatically stated: "If...buildings had been set on fire and people had been knifed who would the public hold accountable?" Although Gasim ordered the notorious "Golha Force" or riot police to Reethi Rah to stop the imagined burnings and knifings, neither he nor anyone else in the new government appears to be in any hurry to do anything to stop the actual blood-spilling in Male's streets.
It is said that police already know most of the gangs operating in Male and involved in the violence. There can't be more than 200 or so of these young people in total and the fact that Maldives police haven't been able to clean up the streets is a national shame. Gayoom has rightly been called the father of heroin and violent youths in Male, but the present government isn't doing much to make the streets safer.
In the last 5 or 6 years violent crime has risen several times over. Like heroin-addiction, child sexual abuse and violence against women, police have failed to reduce it and now it looks like the Maldives has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world.
In the meantime "cutter" incidents continue to happen daily, and the attackers are getting more bold, secure in the knowledge they will not be persecuted.
Many of the attacks are taking place in broad daylight, in full view of a gawking public. Some of them have been captured on mobile phone cameras and are taking the Maldives to an international fame of a different kind on YouTube.