Commission says long-missing Maldivian journalist is dead

MALE, Maldives (AP) — A Maldives commission of inquiry has concluded that a journalist reported missing since 2014 has been killed possibly by those linked to fighters in Syria at the time, the commission's president said Sunday.

Husnu Suood, president of the government-appointed commission said that Ahmed Rilwan, a journalist attached to Maldives Independent news website had been abducted outside his apartment in the Hulhumale island, pushed into a car, taken to a boat and transferred to a bigger vessel at deeper seas and killed.

He said that Rilwan had been in touch with a group of Maldivians fighting in Syria and accused by its leader of being a non-believer in Islam. Conversations on Facebook messenger traced by investigators have shown that Rilwan had been threatened that his days were numbered, Suood said.

Suood said there were two groups active among the Maldivians with links to foreign terrorist organizations and acted as their recruiters.

Suood said that the same group was responsible for the stabbing death of blogger Yaamin Rasheed in 2017.

A Sunni Muslim state of 400,000 people, Maldives which hosts hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists every year was also known to having the most number of fighters per capita in Syria.