Maldives President visits Nasheed tense stronghold

Male: Maldives` new President Mohamed Waheed Hassan today embarked on a visit to his predecessor`s southern bastion of Addu islands in an attempt to win the confidence of the people, but was boycotted by councillors loyal to Mohammed Nasheed.

Waheed started his official trip this morning to the southern most atolls of the country where he was welcomed by senior officials of different government departments at Addu City.

However, none of the Council members of Addu City came to meet him, having already made it plain that they do not recognise his government.

The Councilors of Addu City are from Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and they have passed a resolution stating that Waheed`s government is not legitimate, and they would not provide assistance to Waheed on his trip.

Addu city, a stronghold of the ousted president, had reported widespread violence following his ouster, with mobs burning down police stations, a court and government offices in protests over the change in power.

MDP supporters had also alleged human rights violations and claimed that security forces used excessive force against them. President Waheed`s visit is significant in this light as he tries to win the confidence of the people and widen his support base.

Waheed began his trip with a meeting with the islanders of Hulhu-Meedhoo, following which he met the officials of the Maldivian National Defence Force and Maldives Police Service staff at the Southern Command centre based at Island of Gan at Addu City.

Waheed is also scheduled to meet the people of Addu City at Hithadhoo island and tomorrow he will travel to the island of Fuvahmulaku. During the day there were reports of minor confrontations between the supporters of Waheed and those of the ousted leader but there were no injuries to anybody.

Waheed will visit the places that have been hit by the violence during the protests and will also oversee the ongoing development activities at the two atolls, Abbas Adil Riza, the Spokesperson of the President`s Office said.

Earlier, Nasheed had spelled out a warning to Waheed, asking him not to visit Addu. "It would not be prudent for Waheed to set his foot here in Addu City, so I am sincerely asking him, do not come here," Nasheed had said.