Maldives Police Service has confirmed that three masked men were seen leaving Maamendhoo island in a dinghy with a young girl on Sunday evening.
It has been reported that the girl aboard the vessel was the 16-year old younger sibling of the 19-year Aminath Shima who recently disappeared at sea under suspicious circumstances.
The police revealed that they caught up with the dinghy and arrested the three masked men aboard the vessel, which included the prime suspect in Shima's disappearance, Ibrahim Fazeel.
The dinghy was caught near Six Senses Laamu resort, the very island to which Fazeel had swum to after the dinghy carrying both Shima and Fazeel capsized, leaving Shima alone at sea. She has not been located since.
According to news reports following Shima's disappearance, Ibrahim Fazeel was driving the boat carrying both himself and Shima to Maamendhoo island after she arrived at Kadhdhoo Domestic Airport from capital Male'. It was reported that Fazeel traveled to Kadhdhoo to receive Shima on her arrival to transport her to her island, Maamendhoo. It was also reported that after the boat capsized, Fazeel handed Shima a mobile phone and an empty petrol tank to hold on to, before swimming off to Six Senses Laamu to seek help and alert the Coast Guard. While the search for the missing girl continues, the police have launched a special investigation into the happenings around the incident.
It is believed that the two remaining masked men involved in Sunday's incident are friends of Fazeel, although the police did not reveal the identities of the men. All three have been arrested and are currently held in police custody.
The intent behind the masked men's actions is unknown, although Shima's family claims the men were going into hiding, taking Shima's sister hostage.