Maldives pres backtracks to express hope of finding missing journo alive

Hours after declaring that missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan was almost "certainly dead", incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom insisted that his comments had been 'miscontrued' and expressed hope finding Rilwan alive.

The Maldives Independent reporter Rilwan went missing nearly four years ago and his disappearance remains arguably the biggest unsolved mystery in the archipelago.

Authorities however, has thus far treated Rilwan's disappearance as a missing person's case and is yet to officially rule on his death.

Hours after his shocking claim, president Yameen said it had been out of context and that the "baseline" of his comments were to prove that his former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor had "lied."

The now jailed ex-VP in a statement had claimed that president Yameen had ordered the authorities to stop the investigation into Rilwan's disappearance during a cabinet meeting.

Following the president's comments, his spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali explained that Yameen had not declared Rilwan dead but rather responded to Adheeb who was the then tourism minister's accusations.

President Yameen had reiterated his spokesperson's stand, adding that he had no authority to declare the death of a citizen.

"Insha Allah Rilwan is still alive. And we will find him," he said.