They say luxury sups your soul, but recent reports suggest tourists risk a more immediate danger in the Maldives.
Regularly listed in rankings of “the world’s most luxurious destinations,” this small island nation’s ruffled waters and Instagram-perfect bungalows epitomise opulence.
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But there lies a hidden threat.
As News.com.au reported on Saturday, crime, political instability and terrorism is marring The Maldives’ laid back image.
“An Australian man is recovering from being stabbed in the Maldivian capital of Male this week, along with two Chinese nationals, in a suspected terror attack. Maldives police have arrested three men over the incident and are now investigating their suspected links with Islamic State.”
As The New York Post reports, “This is not the first disturbing incident in the country of 400,000 people, who live on more than 200 islands, which boasts tourism as its largest industry.”
Even though the tropical archipelago (which sees about 7000 Australians a year) is generally safe for resort-staying tourists, its cities harbour unrest which occasionally spills out.
#BREAKING An Australian man has been stabbed in the Maldives in what’s being reported as a terrorist attack. Two other foreign nationals have also been injured in the incident on the island of Hulhumale, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is investigating. pic.twitter.com/NOxbKKcaqD
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) February 6, 2020
While Smarttraveller says to “exercise normal safety precautions in the Maldives overall” and while The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has not changed its overall advice for the Maldives, both urge a high degree of caution in Malé, where drug and gang related crime is on the rise and protests and demonstrations have been happening since 2015.
The Maldives is also seeing a rise in influence from Islamic State, News.com.au wrote, a claim backed up by a Reuters report which said, “[The] Islamic State claimed responsibility for deadly bombings in Sri Lanka in April last year, and has been looking to bolster its presence in the sub-continent after being driven out of its self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria.”
“The Maldives parliament has given sweeping investigative powers to counter-terrorism agencies, and authorities have stepped up operations against hardline Islamist groups.”