Fear grips Maldives island over 'mystery' bullet

In June 2015, a bullet found lodged in a window of a house sparked concern and fear in Kaafu Atoll Himmafushi island. However, the concerns were eased after the military owned up, explaining that the bullet had originated from the military training island Girifushi, a stone throw away from the inhabited Himmafushi island.

But less than a year later, a similar incident has again plunged the tiny island into fear and shock.

This time the military has insisted that the bullet found lodged in a window of a house a few weeks ago had not originated from the training facility in the neighbouring Girifushi island.

Military has insisted that the specific bullet could not have traveled such a distance leaving question marks over the origin of the bullet.

So if the bullet was not fired by the military, then where did it come from? Are civilians in possession of weapons of some kind? Such questions are the talk of the island plagued by a feeling of unease.

The hapless island council are eagerly awaiting the result of the joint investigation launched by the police and the military.

"The people are scared. I mean its understandable when the military said the bullet is not theirs. This island gets a lot of tourists. So we're extremely concerned by the impact this can have on the industry [tourism]. Also the people can't feel safe can they? Everyone we meet are sharing the same concern," Himmafushi council president Shaan Ibrahim told Avas.

Despite the initial denial by the military, Shaan remains confident that the bullet must have come from Girifushi. Primarily because the alternative seems unfathomable.

"Only two incidents had atrracted media attention. But we've found bullets in the island in the past. One had been picked up on the street. Another was found on a roof. We've shared all this information with the investigation team. This an extremely serious issue," Shaan stressed.

Shaan said the council had urged the authorities for a comprehensive investigation.

The military had come under heavy criticism over the bullet found in 2015. Despite admitting the mistake, the subsequent investigation report into the incident is yet to be publicized.

Shaan said the council had requested the military for the report and had been assured that the relevant information would be shared.

The council's only wish is for the military to assure the people that it would take the necessary measures to ensure that such incidents would not be repeated in future.

"The people needs answers. We don't know when one of those stray bullets would hit a person or worse, a tourist. So as the council president, I urge the authorities to expedite the investigation" Shaan said.

After the latest incident, defence minister Adam Shareef Umar had moved to quickly to down play the concerns insisting that there was no danger to the island residents.

However, the minister's words has done little to ease concerns due to the mysterious origin of the latest bullet.