Colombo bombings: Why it may not be a bad idea to look at Maldives as well

img_0039-3New Delhi, Apr 24: A day after Sri Lanka said that they do not believe that only locals were involved, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadly Colombo suicide bombings.

This came in the wake of the investigators pointing a finger at a radical group known as the National Towheed Jamat (NTJ). While the attacks and motive do bear the signature of the Islamic State, the question is whether the group was capable of carrying out such a major strike on its own. This considering the group has lost considerable ground in its once before strongholds of Syria and Iraq.

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Why the Chinese are not going away from Maldives anytime soon

yameen-solihNew Delhi, Sep 25: The election results in Maldives came as a major relief to India, with the incumbent president, Abdulla Yameen losing to a unified opposition candidate, Ibrahim Solih.

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Maldives crisis: Can India undertake another ‘Operation Cactus?’

India says it is closely watching the crisis in Maldives. Going by the events of today when even the Chief Justice was arrested, it appears as though the situation is spiralling out of control. India would keep a close watch due to the geograpical proximity and also to ensure stability in the Indian Ocean. Maldives is just 700 kilometres away from the Lakshadweep island chain and 1,200 kilometres away from the Indian mainland. The stability factor on the Indian Ocean is also a key worry for India.

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China’s creeping expansionism- Why Modi’s visit to Maldives would have been important?

indmalA visit to Maldives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extremely important. The growing menace of terrorism and also the creeping expansionism of China in the island nations are major concerns for India.

The four nation Indian Ocean sojourn by the Prime Minister to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles is scheduled to commence next week.

Maldives to Syria-jihad effects in Kerala

isis3There is a great deal of activity in the Indian Ocean and one of the primary dangers for the security establishment is the growth of Maldives as a launching pad for Jihadi activities. All these years, we read Intelligence Bureau reports of how the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had taken over several islands in Maldives which were to act as launching pads against India.
Now with the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent (AQIS) threat looming large and the Al-Qaeda, India too has a great cause for concern and in this context it would be interesting to take a look at what is happening in Maldives.

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Kerala- Suicide bombers were on their way

‎Amir Siddiqui a consular officer at the Pakistan embassy in Colombo was air lifted to Pakistan the moment details of his alleged involvement in a conspiracy against India came to light. As India probes this case jointly with Malaysia and Maldives it has come to light that these operatives not only wanted to bomb embassies in South India but also ferry a couple of Su‎icide bombers to Kerala.
Idia now with the assistance of Malaysia is all set to build up a detailed case against the officer who had personally overseen the recruitment of Sri Lankan Muslims to carry out a series of attacks on South Indian soil.
While of the operatives for this attack was arrested in Chennai the other was picked up by the Malaysian police. During the questioning the accused revealed startling details of the plot and also said that the attack would be launched on South India using a sea route from Maldives. This has now engaged the Maldivian police who will also assist in the probe.

Continue reading “Kerala- Suicide bombers were on their way”

Maldives-The Jihadist launch pad

From right top: Reaz Khan, Asif Ibrahim
From right top: Reaz Khan, Asif Ibrahim

The arrest of Reaz Qadir Khan in connection with the suicide bombing on the ISI headquarters at Lahore is yet another wake up call regarding the security set up Maldives. This island nation has become a launching pad for Jihadis and the problems are galore for various security agencies across the world.

Continue reading “Maldives-The Jihadist launch pad”

The rising Jihad in Maldives

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It was a concern that India has been speaking about ever since the 26/11 attacks took place and today the vice President of Maldives, Mohammad Waheed Hassan too has allayed the same fears.

Activity in Maldives over the past three years has been subtle, but steady. There is a gradual build up some Islamic forces and slowly the country is threatening to become one of the biggest breeding ground of terror for self styled jihadis after Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Does India have reason to worry? The answer would be yes and plenty. It is after all the radical section of the Students Islamic Movement of India which has infiltrated in large numbers into Maldives. Sources in the Indian Intelligence Bureau confirm this fact while stating that there has been a movement of some SIMI cadres into Maldives. They also say that there has been constant monitoring of the youth from Maldives who are coming into India.

The vice president of that country also made it clear that these youth who are mostly students are following a version of Islam which is very rigid. Sources say that he is most probably referring to the Wahabi style of the religion which is rigid and is being followed by the Al-Qaeda which does not believe in Dargah worship and also finds every solution in a bloody battle.

The common belief was that after the breaking down of the Students Islamic Movement of India there was a set of people in it who formed the Indian Mujahideen. While one section of SIMI did move on to become the IM, there was another set of radicals who preferred to infiltrate into Maldives in particular and start to wage a war over there. Police sources say that many in the SIMI network have gone out of the radar. There has been intelligence to show that many had set base in Maldives as they had found it to be a safe haven. Camps have been set up and it has become a major cadre collection point. Students who are hand picked by extremists outfits enter into Maldives quoting job and education as the reasons. While one point of their entry is on the radar after a couple of months they suddenly go missing.

From here the youth are sent to either Pakistan or Afghanistan where there are further radicalised, trained and prepared to wage a battle. India is sure on the radar of such extremists. There has been a lot of talk about how the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was setting up of its stronger bases in Maldives and would want to launch sea borne attacks from this country.

Maldives faces a herculean task today thanks to this phenomenon. Back in the year 2009 there was an Al-Qaeda video which was in circulation showing youth being indoctrinated for terror. The Al-Qaeda had been picking up Maldivian youth at that time to battle in Afghanistan and according to records in that year alone nearly 150 youth from Maldives had gone missing and later found to be fighting along side the Al-Qaeda.

The Lashkar on the other hand has been setting up camps. There has not been much to show that the youth from Maldives have been used to wage the Lashkar battle. The Lashkar in fact has played it along quite safely and inputs go on to suggest that they are going about their job in a slow and phased manner. The arrangement with Maldives which permitted their citizens to stay on in India for 90 days without a visa had proved to a boon for outfits such as SIMI and the Lashkar. A great deal of movement was seen at that time and the majority of it was reported from Kerala. According to sources, Lashkar and SIMI have been eying Maldives since the year 2007 when the Sultan Park blasts took place. It was a way of announcing their presence in Maldives and as per the investigation conducted on the basis of the statements made by Asif Ibrahim it was the Lashkar and the SIMI which undertook this attack. However the attack was not carried out in the name of either of these outfits but a shadow outfit by the name Jammat-e-Muslimeen was floated for this purpose. India also had the investigation report of a man by the name Inas Moosa who was associated with this outfit.

The Sultan Park blast according to the experts was a turning point. There was a major hunt down which was conducted post this attack and the police trail led to a mosque on Himendu where some of the militants were holed up. There was violence that followed and this in fact helped the recruitment’s surge. More on the investigations also pointed to the kind of influx there has been in this country which led to the bomb blast. There were Maldivians, Indians, Pakistanis and also Sri Lankans involved in this attack. This in fact is a testimony to show how much these radical elements prefer Maldives as a base.

According to the Intelligence Bureau, the Lashkar has had a very similar approach in Maldives as it did in both India and Pakistan. A shadow organisation by the name Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq considered to be a front for the Lashkar was sent into Maldives to help the Tsunami victims in the year 2004. Since that there has been activity in the country and the results of the same we see today.

Apart from recruitment’s the Lashkar has concentrated on getting SIMI cadres and also youth from various other South Asian countries to set up a very strong base in Maldives. The Islands give them a perfect launching pad and the 26/11 attack did prove that a sea borne attack could be deadly. Reports would suggest that from India alone the Lashkar has possibly used the services of nearly a 1000 youth to set up base camps in Maldives.

More to read:

Maldives+Kerala=Terror
When netas and terrorists launder money together

Indo-Maldives ties And its importance

Maldives+Kerala=Terror

An agreement with Maldives to permit its residents to stay on in India without a visa for 90 days has been proving to be a headache for investigating agencies especially in Kerala. Very recently Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh spoke about the challenges the two countries faced in fighting a common enemy called as terrorism.

Post 26/11, every attempt was made by Pakistan based militant groups to float more modules in Maldives and the message was clear that attacks would be more sea borne in future. Off late Intelligence Bureau reports show that there is a lot of influx of Maldives based terror operatives and they have been frequenting states such as Kerala.

The fact that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been setting up modules in Maldives to launch terror attacks is nothing new. However the state in India that they would depend on the most would be Kerala according to reports put out by security agencies. Groups such as the Lashkar have been tapping the modules in Kerala to keep their Maldivian operations afloat. Signs of a Kerala-Maldives link began to show in the year 2007 itself with the arrest of a key operative by the name Asif Ibrahim.

Till date the Lashkar has been using the modules in Kerala to carry out operations in the Maldives, but soon it could be vice versa when the outfit decides to target India. There is a steady growth of the Maldivian modules according to Intelligence reports. Not only are these groups strong ideologically, but they have the capabilities of launching sea borne attacks as well which is probably the toughest form of terror which India can fight.

The Male Sultan park blast was the first time that the India-Maldives terror link cropped up. Executed by an Islamic cell connected with the Lashkar, this attack made Indian agencies sit up and take notice of what was going on.

In this case the police managed to gather a lot of information through the interrogation of Asif Ibrahim who was also connected with the attack. This man who is a Maldivian national was arrested in Kerala and during his interrogation spoke in great detail about the links between the state and the groups in Maldives. The two regions are directly bound by the finance factor and most of the operations that are carried out in Maldives are funded through the modules in Kerala which are hawala experts.

During his interrogation he also goes on to say that they have launched a shadow outfit called the Jammat-e-Muslimeen which is a cover for the Lashkar. All operations connecting Maldives and Kerala are carried out in the name of this outfit. The Kerala police point out that this is nothing but a shadow outfit for the Lashkar and in the name of the JeM a lot of activites have been carried out. The problem is serious and under the guise of a 90 day no visa policy many operatives have managed to come in and go with no problem what so ever. Although there is this glitch, the police say they are taking all efforts to verify the details of those who come into Kerala from Maldives.

However Ibrahim’s interrogation went on to prove that the police were caught napping. They managed to procure arms and also funds with much ease from Kerala when compared to Maldives. Due to various factors in Kerala, the Lashkar has found it easier to stock weapons and also cash in Kerala and have also managed to smuggle it out with much ease, once again using the sea route.

The last of the operations connecting these two modules was the Sultan park bombing. The JeM which is still very much active has remained to remain low key for the moment. Although there has been no major incident, there is still a lot of activity that goes on and hence it becomes extremely important to monitor movements into Kerala, the police feel.

The other interesting aspect is the visit made by another man called Inas Moosa to Kerala before the Sultan Park bombing. His visit is part of the record in Indian circles, but there is no trace of the man today. All the police know through their investigations is that Moosa had come down to Thiruvananthapuram and met with a couple of operatives before the attack.

Although India, Maldives and Pakistan have been speaking of curbing terror activities in Maldives, it does not appear that the Lashkar has let go easily. They have roped their best operatives including the D Gang to carry out operations in the Maldives. The D Gang has in fact set up three front companies in Maldives through which operations go on.

The IB says that all eyes are on Thiruvananthapuram where the JeM is headquartered. This front is a direct link to the Maldives operation. There is an attempt that is being made by the Lashkar to move out of Pakistan and make Maldives a big base and there is a lot of dependancy on the Indian modules for the same.

Apart from records available even the interrogations of various other operatives would show that Maldives is becoming a major hub for the Lashkar. Sarfaraz Nawaz, Sabahuddin among others have spoken about the Lashkar’s plans for Maldives. Nawaz even goes on to say that apart from Kerala they were also planning on linking the Tamil Nadu based modules for operations in Maldives.

When netas and terrorists launder money together

Photo courtesy: http://www.wayfaring.info

Very recently a politician who was about to lose face parked a large amount of money in a bank at Mauritius. A confidential document to this effect goes on to show that post wiki leaks and the Swiss bank fiasco, a lot of the money transaction has shifted to banks in Mauritius. The bigger worry however is where there is black money terror always follows.

Mauritius is becoming a hot bed for illegal money and this is more to do with the fact that some of the banks over there have become extremely liberal. It all started with terror groups parking funds in benami names and now this has attracted money launders as well. A report by the International Monetary Fund too goes on to state that the Mauritius is becoming more global and hence the risk of laundering too has increased.

Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that there is a great deal of investment that is being found in this country and it has become very difficult to track the original source of the income. People have been found to be investing money in the names of their brothers or distant relatives and hence the trail become extremely difficult unless and until there is proper assistance from the officials of that country.

Even terrorist organisations who are supported by the well established Dawood network have been investing in a great deal of property in Mauritius. Trails of these investments can also be found in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

Investigators have found it difficult to track the money since there is a lot of mixed funding that could be found in these countries. Investigators also do not rule out the nexus between some terror groups and politicians who have used these countries as a safe parking ground for their funds. There is a need to thoroughly investigate these cases and also bifurcate between the two forms of money that is being parked over here.

The Indian IB says that there is a need to scrutinise the banks or financial institutions in particular since these can lead us up to the trail. They have become extremely liberal in nature and according to the confidential document these institutions have been offering various sops so that parking the money becomes extremely easy. Interest rates of over 20 per cent, very little questioning and documentation have made parking of illegal money very easy. Moreover they are favouring investments from non residents and there is no proper track record of those who have been laundering the money in case the need for proper documentation to track the trail arises.

For the Intelligence Bureau the bigger headache has however been the parking of terror funds in these countries. There is a steep increase of funds in the past couple of years and it is going un noticed by the government over there. The international community has not yet woken up to this grave issue like how they have done in the case of the Swiss bank and until there is a proper awareness the issue is likely to remain unresolved for many years.

While India claims that it needs to support of the international community in resolving this menace, the rest of the world feels that a lot of money that is being pumped into this country is done through the underworld and the drug cartel operating out of India. The international community states that the money that is being raised through these operations is used directly to fund terror. The hawala remittance where India is concerned has been notorious in Kerala. However there are trails to show that such money is also being pumped into Mauritius as they find it to be safer over there.

There are various reports which show that in the past three years the hawala transactions into these countries pumped in by the Underworld/drug cartel and kin of politicians amounts to nearly Rs 2000 crore. All this money according to the report was initially shown as an investment from India, but mysteriously vanished once it reached these tax havens.

The Indian Intelligence Bureau says that there is a clear bifurcation in the manner in which these terror groups have been working. They have undoubtedly been using these tax havens to park their funds, but have ensured that none of their modules have been operating out of these places. It is a deliberate ploy on their part since they too are aware that they cannot afford to have so much heat in one particular country.

A group such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has very safely installed its modules in countries such as Nepal and Maldives and they use the funds from these tax havens to carry forth their activitiy. In fact in a country such as Maldives they have managed to stake a control over the 300 odd isolated islands and their bases are being set up at a very quick pace. It is still a virgin module in Maldives and they would only use it against India when the time comes. These modules are building up slowly and today they have over a 1000 operatives at their disposal.

The worry is that they are facing no problem when raising of funds is concerned. Earlier the money raised through the drug trade and also counterfeiting was in circulation within India. However with the noose a bit tight today they have begun parking their money in these tax havens, which is surely a cause for concern for India.

India has its task cut out since any form of such activity does tend to affect us first. It is a constant cat and mouse game and there is a need to be alert at all times since terror groups have been adopting newer methods all the time. Moreover to make matters worse some of the politicians too have been using these tax havens and this gives them automatic protection since the policy to track such money becomes weak thanks to the high profile personalities involved in this money laundering racket.