Terrorism Monitor: "The Maldives Faces Dual Challenge of Terrorist Returnees and Extremist Hate Campaigns"

March 26, 2019

The Maldives, the smallest nation in South Asia, has witnessed it all in the last several years amid periodic political instability: Islamic radicalization, forced disappearances, foreign fighters, and crackdowns on free speech. At present, the archipelago nation is grappling with several new challenges—the problem of war refugees/returnees and growing religious dissent, with increasing amounts of hate campaigns on social media.

On February 21, the country’s elite counter-terrorism agency, the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) in the capital Male, announced that six women wish to return home to the Maldives with their families. These women are in fact the war widows of Maldivian militants who died fighting alongside jihadist factions in Syria and Iraq. The director of NCTC, Brig. Gen. Zakariyya Mansoor, cautiously said in a press conference that  even though multiple agencies are working toward facilitating families’, and many others’, safe return to the country, authorities face many challenges in doing so, including the lack of identification documents for the children born in war zones (Maldives Times, February 21). While the Maldivian government is still weighing options to bring back its citizens and their children, the death of a Maldivian woman and her two children in Syria was reported on March 6 as the Islamic State’s (IS) last remaining territory in Syria falls apart (The Sun, March 12).

Like the Maldives, countries worldwide are facing the challenge of how to deal with women and their children returning from the Syrian war theatre. Undoubtedly, the situation is as alarming as the male fighters’ homecoming, but agencies in the Maldives remain largely clueless about the nature of threats these female returnees will pose back home.

For Complete Article, See, The Maldives Faces Dual Challenge of Terrorist Returnees and Extremist Hate Campaigns

Animesh Roul, Terrorism Monitor, (Jamestown Foundation), March 26, 2019