MNDF: Abdulla not negligent in president’s security breach

Brigadier General Abdulla Ibrahim speaking in the press conference. (Sun/Photo/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), on Wednesday, stated that Brigadier General Abdulla Ibrahim, the president’s security unit’s commander who was suspended in connection to the deliberate obstruction of the president’s motorcade for failure to ensure the president’s security, had not been negligent in fulfilling his duties in any way.

The incident in question took place on the night of March 20, near the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) headquarters in Male’ City. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s motorcade had been traveling en route to Muliaage after an event in Hulhumale’ when it ran into PPM protestors. Some of the protestors surrounded the motorcade and prevented its passage.

The protestors had kept the motorcade blocked for a good 15 minutes despite both Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and Maldives Police Service (MPS) officials present at the scene.

Then-Colonel Abdulla Ibrahim, the president’s security unit’s commander was suspended by MNDF for the investigation of the case following which deputy commander Major Ahmed Haleem was put temporarily in charge of the unit.

MNDF, in a statement on Wednesday, said it had not been an action taken under the article related to suspension in military employment regulation.

Instead, MNDF’s said Abdulla was temporarily instructed temporarily step aside from his responsibilities in order to ensure the inquiry conducted in the case was free from influence and therewith, fair.

MNDF’s statement comes after media outlets, on Tuesday, reported the promotion of Abdulla, who had been suspended in connection to the deliberate obstruction of the president’s motorcade, from colonel to brigadier general.

The motorcade obstruction of the president is being investigated by the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Service (241 Committee) as a serious security breach. Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Did and top MNDF officials were summoned to the Committee during the course of their investigation. However, as the convening had been held behind closed doors, their details remain unclear.