- Figures to be revised every month
- Dead individuals not counted in total figure
- Most going to civil conflicts after finding information online
Defense Minister Adam Shareef Umar has said the number of Maldivians participating in civil conflicts abroad has risen to 49.
Speaking in a press conference held in Coast Guard, Minister Adam Shareef said most of those individuals who had left for civil conflicts had criminal records. Minister said that they had experienced a spiritual rebirth and immediately left for what they had termed as a jihad or a holy war.
"What we have seen is that these individual lack basic religious knowledge on Islam, have criminal records, lack of family support and had not completed basic schooling," Minister said.
Minister said that previously the number was not so high, but based on the information collected from Immigration and Police, the Ministry can say that 49 individuals had gone to participate in the civil war. He said minors and deceased were not included in list.
"We have not included minors in this list of 49. We have included able bodied individuals, men and their wives, though we don't know why they go. We did not include deceased individuals in the list, but have included those individuals whose death had not been confirmed," Minister Adam Shareef said.
Minister Adam Shareef said the list will be reviewed every month. He said the individuals enter nations such as Syria, Iraq from another country and as such, stopping them becomes a difficult issue. Minister said confirming whether the individual had actually gone to the war zones. He also said that he had rejected the UN report which had estimated the number of Maldivians actively participating in war zones.
Minister had denied that there was a network active in recruiting Maldivians for various civil conflicts, but there were individuals actively working in recruitment. He said most of the individuals had gotten information from social media and internet sources.