Thu, February 09, 2012
World > Asia-Pacific > Maldives crisis - Trouble in paradise

Security 'breakdown' in Maldives' second city: mayor

2012-02-09 08:41:11 GMT2012-02-09 16:41:11(Beijing Time)

MALE, February 9, 2012 - The mayor of the Maldives' second-largest city Addu spoke Thursday of a total law and order "breakdown" following a night of violence that saw police stations attacked and torched.

"There's no law and order at all. It's a complete breakdown," Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodig told AFP by phone, saying his wrist had been fractured when he was beaten up by a group of people who attacked him in his office.

Sodig said police were absent from the city streets, while troops from a nearby military base were focused on protecting Gan Airport -- a major conduit for foreign tourists travelling from the capital Male to luxury resort islands.

With 32,000 residents, Addu is the second-largest city in the Maldives after Male.

Violence erupted in the Maldives on Wednesday in the wake of the resignation of president Mohamed Nasheed, who later said he had been ousted in a "coup" orchestrated by opposition leaders backed by the police and army.

Sodig, a member of Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said the initial protests in Addu had been peaceful demonstrations by MDP supporters against the new administration installed in Male.

"But then other groups became involved and it all turned violent," he said. Two police stations were burned down, along with a courtroom and a private residence.

"I called the army, but they said they only had enough men to guard the airport," he said.

"Tourists flying directly off to the resorts would be safe, but nobody should come into the city proper," he added.

The Maldives Police Service confirmed that police stations had been targeted by protesters in six outlying areas of the Maldives archipelago, including Addu.

Addu City comprises three small islands linked by causeways.

The tourist resorts are located on small, uninhabited coral islets a short plane flight away.



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