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Maldives: Police arrest fourth Maldivian man trying to join Syrian war

Many Maldivians are leaving the beautiful island nation to fight with the Islamic State group or al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in Syria.?At least six Maldivians are believed to have died fighting in Syria. (In picture: Al-Nusra Front fighters) Photograph: (AFP)

WION Maldives Feb 09, 2017, 06.55 AM (IST)

The Maldives police arrested a Maldivian man for allegedly trying to cross into Syria to join the civil war there, the Maldives Independent reported. 

On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, the police said he was“on his way to join Syrian civil war.” The man's identity and the date of extradition were not disclosed. 

“In order to reduce the number of such cases, we are expanding cooperation with international actors and are working on increasing the police’s capacity,” the Maldives Police's tweet read. 

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According to media reports, this is the fourth Maldivian citizen to be arrested for trying to join the war in Syria. The other three are currently under trial facing terrorism charges, the Maldives Independent reported. 

If convicted, they can get up to 20 years in prison. 

Several Maldivians are leaving the beautiful island nation mostly to fight within al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Al-Nusra Front, in Syria. 

At least six Maldivians are believed to have died fighting in Syria. 

Although no official figures are available, former Maldivian president Nasheed claims there could as many as 200 Maldivians fighting in Syria. 

WION had earlier reported that the growing radicalism in the country could be attributed to some radical preachers educated in Saudi Arabia and spreading the strict Salafi version of Islam in the archipelago. 

This not only poses a threat for the Maldives but for India as well, a close neighbour which has a fair share of its own citizens attempting to participate in the war. 

In 2016, about 50 Indians have been arrested for having suspected links to the IS. The detainees mostly belonged to states of Maharashtra and Kerala, WION reported. 

After allegations that current President Abdulla Yameen's administration had failed to curb the threat, the Parliament in 2015 introduced a law which criminalises people joining foreign wars. 

(WION)

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