Maldives National Defense Force MNDF says reporters from the online news outlet 'Dhiyares' attempted to enter the Uthuru Thila Falhu UTF without obtaining any permission and that it would submit this case to the relevant authorities for further investigation.

This comes after reporters from the outlet attempted to enter UTF on a launch claiming that they were there to see the area where President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that he would be giving land plots to Male' residents.

Following the incident, MNDF said via a statement that the President had declared that some areas of the vast lagoon would be developed as a residential area. MNDF said that this residential area is separate from the area being developed as a military port and that the reporters have entered this area without obtaining prior permission from the armed forces.

MNDF said that it had recently arranged a tour for the media to show the reporters the port being built on the land and described the attempt to trespass on the island without obtaining the required permission as an act of defiance against the law and the duties and responsibilities of MNDF.

The armed forces said that its military bases are off limits without permission from MNDF and preventing any individual from trespassing into the bases is a must for MNDF soldiers under the Armed Forces Act. It further said that a soldier with the rank of Sergent First Class had acted as per the rules when the reporters attempted to get on the island.

MNDF further said that it would view trespassing into military bases as a serious offense and that it had granted its soldiers permission to use weapons against any individuals who are attempting to trespass into the bases. It added that this was the practice at most of the military installations across the country.