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Page added on January 10, 2007

Hundreds Of Weapons Confiscated

Dozens of sharp weapons were confiscated from a shop in Male’ on Thursday evening for fear gangs may use them, the Police said.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Police revealed they had impounded 37 swords and 267 daggers found in the storeroom of Radium Hardware in H. Radiumkokaa.

According to the Police, the blades of the daggers measured 14 inches, while the the swords measured 26 inches.

The owner of Radium Hardware, Mubarik Moosa, said on Saturday the daggers that had been found in his shop had been cleared by Customs and had been on sale to the public for “a long time”.

“The daggers are ornamental and a lot of people who like to display such things buy them,” said Moosa. “Recently, a lot of ‘paateys’ (drug users) have bought the daggers. We don’t know what they use them for.”

The police are still investigating, and have released little other information.

But they have said the blades were seized during a “special operation” being conducted in response to recent gang violence in the capital. So far, police say nine people have been arrested in connection with the disturbances across Male’.

The most recent trouble is believed to have been sparked by two incidents: the beating of a thirteen-year-old boy, hospitalised in early December, and an attack on a man at Trends restaurant on 17 December.

The attacks sparked retribution and violent acts throughout the night of the 17 December. Armed gangs were seen roaming the streets with swords, knives, bats and other weapons.

The police have been heavily criticised by the local press and public for not taking action sooner but authorities insist they did everything in their power to stop the violence. They have since increased police patrols.

Police Spokesman, Corporal Shiyam, says the violence is the result of long standing gang rivalries.

During the recent violence, many gang members, who are thought mostly to be under 18, have been seen carrying weapons such as swords and knives.

Although the Police have started confiscating such weapons from retailers, there are several souvenir shops in Male which still have such items for sale.

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