Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
National Security Service (Maldives)
The National Security Service (NSS), the armed forces of Maldives was founded in 1978 after President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom came to power. It's predecessor, the National Security Guard functioned as the State's primary paramilitary organization during the rule of the country's second president, Ibrahim Nasir. The NSS retained most of its functions up until recent times when a separate police force was established to differentiate the military duties and domestic law enforcement duties.
With the lack of security problems in the country for decades, a strong military establishment was not needed, therefore the NSS continued to function as a paramilitary organization. It performs army and maritime duties as well as intelligence gathering. The NSS was a very small force numbering some 1000 personnel during the 80's. However, after the attempted foreign coup of 1988, the NSS was expanded and strengthened with the help of friendly countries such as India, the US and the UK. In 2001 the NSS had some 3500 personnel in its rank as well as some light armour and sea attack capabilities.
The Indian government gave at least a dozen armoured vehicles to help with the expansion of the NSS including Russian made BRDM-2 Armoured Reconnaisance Vehicles and Saladin Armoured Cars during the past 10 years. The NSS also acquired a number of Cobra Light Armoured Vehicles from Turkey and 2 modified Dovra Class Fast Attack Crafts from Israel.
According to Amnesty International's 2004 annual report, there are continued reports of torture or ill-treatment of prisoners by the NSS. At least two prisoners died and a number of inmates were injured with gun shot wounds at the hands of the NSS during 2003. An investigation ordered by Gayoom resulted in the arrest of a number of NSS personnel. In recent times, the NSS has been used as a tool by Gayoom to spread fear and intimidation and to crack down on democratic activists who are critical of his rule.
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