Ahmed Rilwan, a citizen of Maldives and a reputed journalist reported on the al-Nusra Front’s recruitment efforts before his abduction. Investigators who have been investigating the case since Rilwan’s 2014 killing stated that the abduction/killing was part of a series of attacks aimed at silencing liberal voices. He went missing in the Maldives five years ago was abducted and killed by a local affiliate of al-Qaeda, as stated by the lead investigator, acknowledging publicly for the first time, the hardline group’s presence and efforts to silence liberal and democratic voices in the Indian Ocean island nation.
In 2014, Rilwan’s disappearance shook the Maldives, apparently, he was forced into a car at knifepoint outside his home on the islands of Hulhumale and taken to a boat out at sea where he was then murdered, said Husnu Suood, who is the head of a presidential commission which was set up to investigate the case. Suood said the commission’s long investigation of almost 9 months found then-President Abdulla Yameen and his deputy may have obstructed the police investigation into the journalist’s disappearance.Rilwans’s family said in a statement on Sunday that they heard the commission’s conclusion with “deep sorrow” and also called for protection for the witnesses in the case so that Rilwan can get justice.
Officials in the Maldives, a popular Indian Ocean holiday destination, have previously denied the existence of hardline Islamic groups in the Sunni Muslim state, despite a spate of attacks against people advocating the practice of moderate Islam or freedom of belief.The attacks also include the killing of a prominent blogger, Yameen Rasheed, who led a campaign to find Rilwan in 2017.