• Saturday, Jan 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:14 pm

19 Bangladeshi workers arrested over unrest in Maldives

  • Published at 08:14 pm July 4th, 2020
A Police officer from the Forensics department inspects a building vandalised during a protest held by expatriate officers, in Bodufinolhu, Maldives Twitter

During the unrest, the infuriated group of expatriate workers had even inflicted damage on property and buildings

Maldives Police Service (MPS) has arrested 19 Bangladeshi expatriates in relation to the unrest at Bodufinolhu, an island under development as a tourist resort, reports PSM citing Maldivian news agency Avas.

The expatriate Bangladeshi nationals were brought into custody after communicating with them with the help of officials from the High Commission of Bangladesh in the Maldives. 

Meanwhile, the group of expatriate workers was remanded by 15 days by the Eydhafushi Magistrate Court, at a facility decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs, according to the news agency. 

Expatriate workers on the island being developed into a resort by RIZ Private Limited, began protesting months ago due to unpaid salaries. As such, during May, a group of expatriate workers held peaceful protests, calling to settle their due salaries, which had been unpaid for months.

15 Maldivian workers in the resort had attempted to depart from the island around 09:30am, local time on Thursday. However, about 203 expatriate workers on the island stopped the Maldivian workers from leaving the island.

The large group of expatriates had shown hostility and attacked officers from Thulhaadhoo Island in the same atoll, who attempted to enter the resort, with rocks and metal rods.

One of the officers attained serious head injuries after being struck and was taken to the Baa atoll health centre for treatment. Another officer was left with a broken finger and other officers also attained injuries following the confrontation.

They were only stopped and agreed to end the protests after a team of officials from the Bangladeshi High Commission in the Maldives as well as a team of the police Public Order Response Unit and investigative unit led by two senior officers, had arrived at the island early Friday, to rescue the Maldivian hostages.

During the unrest, the infuriated group of expatriate workers had even inflicted damage on property and buildings. The case is currently being probed by the authority’s Serious and Organized Crime Department and Human Trafficking Department.

The contractor of the island has since confessed to having failed in paying the workers their due salaries for four months. Owner of the company and MP for Milandhoo constituency Ali Riza accused the project's developer, Seal Maldives of holding payments owed to the company, which in turn caused the delay in payments. Seal Maldives has refuted these claims as baseless and stated that they have paid RIZ even more than it was owed.

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