Defense Force denies rumors of foreign military presence

Chief of Defense Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has said that armed military personnel of another nation would not be stationed in the Maldives.

The statement by the army comes after rumors of possible stationing of foreign army personnel in the Maldives began to circulate through opposition political parties. 

In a press conference today, Chief of Defense Maj. Abdulla Shamaal denied rumors that there was a foreign military presence in the Maldives. 

“I would note that there is no military presence of a foreign nation in the Maldives. To provide further details, there are no armed military personnel or force of a foreign nation in the Maldives.” Said Shamaal.

He noted that the Maldives had always accepted the assistance of foreign nations as technicians and humanitarian roles before noting that exercises with countless foreign nations were conducted by the military.

“They include training, joint exercises, as well as visits of different levels, we also gain the assistance of foreign nations in major humanitarian matters.” Said Shamaal. 

He said that the army was always focused on maintaining the sovereignty and independence of the country at all times and wanted to assure the public that the institution would remain so in the future.

Speaking in the presser, Brigadier General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef also said that the army would never pursue an act that could detriment the sovereignty and independence of the nation.

“The defense force, we are prepared to sacrifice our lives if it comes to it, to protect the country and religion, under the oath we have taken. We remain the same, following the oath.” Said the Brigadier. 

National Counter-Terrorism Center’s Director Brigadier General Zakariyya Mansoor said that work was being carried out to increase the capabilities of the defense force in collaboration with other nations. He said that this was an effort especially prioritized after the failed coup attempt of November 3. 

He said that the army would never hesitate in carrying out their duties and reiterated that the army would never do anything that would place the independence of the nation at risk.

He added that it was a protection for a small nation such as the Maldives to work in collaboration with regional nations. He added that obtaining the assistance of foreign nations was not risking the sovereignty of the nation.