As ISIS extremists gain influence in the popular holiday destination of the Maldives, fears are growing for the safety of British tourists traveling to the island nation.
According to Express.co.uk News:
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More than 200 ‘island jihadis’ are now fighting for Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, a startlingly high figure considering the tiny nation has the same population as Coventry.
More radicals remain in the country, where they are working to recruit others.
Whereas it was previously understood that radicals would not launch a terror campaign in the country, the threat of an attack against wealthy Western tourists is now a growing concern, according to a former Maldivian security official.
He said: “Our assessment previously was that local radical groups would not strike on their home turf, not least as they did not want to attract the sort of attention that would come with it.
“But with the emergence of groups such as the Islamic State, that assessment is changing. We are facing a much more unpredictable and dangerous environment.”
One million tourists visit the country each year, with many luxury resorts located just a short speed boat trip away from the increasingly-radical capital city of Male.
There is now a strict ban on alcohol while women are dressing more modestly in headscarves or full-length robes.
In 2012 gay blogger had his throat slashed outside his home while this year a journalist was abducted after writing about the growing influence of gangs and terrorists.
He is still missing.
The former security official admitted: “We know who these guys are, but there is not the evidence or the organisation for the state to pick them up.
“So the police try to keep an eye on them and hope for the best.”
The country’s fragile economy is heavily reliant on tourism but the threat of home-grown terrorism is nonetheless growing quickly.
Preachers hold up the seven Maldivians who have died fighting in the Middle East as martyrs and post inflammatory videos online.
In one, a preacher declares: “The Maldives is even today being ruled by unbelievers, and if they are unbelievers we have to wage war against them.”
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