60 days since my friend and colleague Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla was abducted. This here is an “extended tweet” from me to all you people focusing on speculation about Rilwan’s disappearance, rather than putting in an effort to find him.
So far, despite relentless efforts on the part of friends, family and other concerned citizens, the authorities have been unable to provide any answers as to what happened to Rilwan, where he is, how he is, or who the perpetrators of the abduction are.
One thing that has been on the increase in these two months is speculation about ‘what really happened’. From various social media users to even people claiming to be proper journalists, we’ve had to listen to a myriad of opinions about what might have happened to Rilwan.
I’d like to take some time to respond to the often baseless, and usually insensitive, speculations that people have floated in recent days.
1. Rilwan ran away
Considering the facts gathered by family and friends (the CCTV footage, his actions on the day of the disappearance, eye witness accounts…) this is quite impossible.
On the off chance that it is true, would the police really be this incompetent at even finding a regular citizen who decided to run off?
2. Rilwan committed suicide
Leave aside the insensitivity of mentioning this particular thought to an already grieving family. People are such tools.
But, considering this is a possiblity:
If Rilwan indeed committed suicide, when did he do it? CCTV footage shows him get on the ferry to Hulhumale’, eye witnesses claim to have seen him on the ferry, and then he disappeared from that point on.
So why haven’t the police found his body in their extensive searches of Hulhumale’ and the surrounding sea?
3. MDP abducted Rilwan. PPM abducted Rilwan
Got proof to back this claim? If yes, please share. If no, STFU.
It doesn’t matter what political affiliation the perpetrators are from. What we want is to FIND him or at least to find out what happened to him.
Perpetrators must be brought to justice regardless of their political affiliation.
It doesn’t help anyone when you baselessly point fingers at the political party you dislike the most.
4. He’s an atheist, so what if he disappeared?
What makes you so sure he is an “atheist”? I’ve known him for years and this really isn’t how I’d describe his religious leanings.
In any case, whether he is an atheist, a monotheist or a polytheist, NO ONE deserves to be abducted.
5. Adheeb abducted Rilwan
There are these stories going around that Rilwan had some sensitive information about Adheeb that the minister could not stomach.
I was close to him both at work and on a personal level, and I can vouch that he had no more information about cabinet ministers and politicians being corrupt than you or I have.
Even if it were true, again, do you think it is acceptable for a man to be abducted in a bid to silence him?
6. Gatu Mua, Ahandhu and the gangs abducted Rilwan
Yes, there is rampant gang activity in the country and yes, these folk are the most notorious of them all.
However, what ties them directly to Rilwan’s abduction?
Their violent forms of defence does them no favours in proving their innocence, yes, but I’d rather focus on Shiran first, for we saw him following Rilwan on the night of the abduction via CCTV footage from the ferry terminal.
7. Religious extremists abducted Rilwan
Quite possible, considering the information gathered to date, and even the general public response.
However, religion seems to have been used as a smokescreen for political or other material purpose.
8. Police had a hand in abducting Rilwan
Continued failure of the police to either find Rilwan, or be accountable about their lack of progress in the related investigation makes this seem more and more plausible.
9. Minivan News is playing a game for fame
No one at Minivan News is so desperate for attention that they would place a colleague, or anyone’s, in fact, life in danger just for a few minutes of attention.
Funnily enough, this idea was floated by another news outlet, and this makes me question the intentions behind making such an irresponsible and hateful claim.
10. He’s dead. Stop looking for him
I’d like to believe he isn’t. Even if this is unfortunately true, we still insist on finding out what happened to him and who was behind it.
We will not give up hope.
11. He’s not the only missing person in Maldives. Why the fuss?
This is the first known case of an abduction in the Maldives. This is also the first time that a journalist has gone missing or been abducted.
Everyone is welcome to search for other missing persons, but Rilwan’s case is not simply a missing persons case.
The implications of this are far more serious, and will have a lasting impact on the future of this country in more ways than one.
12. Nobody abducted Rilwan
What the absolute fuck. -.-