Police: Yet to receive evidence against a specific individual in rape of young girl

Residents of an island in northern Maldives stage a protest on March 24, 2021, over lack of arrests after a 14-year-old girl was gangraped.

Maldives police said on Thursday that though a report has been lodged with the authority regarding the rape of a young girl in northern Maldives, the investigation has yet to uncover evidence to establish anyone as a suspect.

According to the police, the case involving the suspected sexual violence against a girl under the age of 18 years in northern Maldives took place on March 3, and was reported to the authority on March 11.

“The investigation has yet to collect evidence to suspect a specific individual in this case,” said the police on Thursday morning.

The victim in the case is a 14-year-old girl. She had been moved to Male’ after she came forward and reported the crime to her family and Gender Ministry.

A member of the victim’s family told Sun on Wednesday the crime took place on the evening of March 3. The young girl went to the school on a school-related matter, where she met her teacher who took her to a nearby guesthouse.

There were three men already waiting when she went to the guesthouse. The victim is unable to identify the three men as they were wearing masks to hide their face.

The family member who spoke to Sun said that the young girl was given a glass of juice after she was taken to the guesthouse, likely containing a substance. She was gangraped by the four men, and they later threatened to kill her if she reported them to anyone.

After the crime came to light, residents of the island staged a protest outside the local police station on Wednesday demanding the arrest of the suspects. The protest led to clashes between the police and protesters, during which the police station was vandalized and the police used pepper spray on some of the protesters.

A local resident who spoke to Sun said that the residents of the islands are outraged that the teacher accused of involvement in the rape remains free. He said that the teacher’s freedom poses a threat to other young children in the island, and that he is calling different people in an attempt to tamper with the evidence.

Gender Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday announcing a case of sexual violence against a 14-year-old girl came to the Ministry’s attention on March 10. Gender Ministry said the victim has been moved to a safe location, and that they are investigating the case in collaboration with the police.