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Unrest spreads in Maldives: officials

world Updated: Feb 09, 2012 07:40 IST

Angry protesters on at least two outlying islands in the Maldives attacked police stations and set fire to government buildings on Wednesday, officials told AFP.

Abdulla Sodig, the mayor of Addu, said one police station had been stormed and another two were surrounded in the first confirmed report that unrest had spread beyond the capital Male after Mohamed Nasheed stepped down as president.

"One of the stations was stormed and there was a confrontation. The police were forced to abandon the building. The two other are surrounded by protesters," Sodig said by phone from Addu, the southernmost atoll of the Maldives archipelago.

Mohamed Shareef, a senior politician on the island of Thinadhoo, told AFP a mob of up to 1,000 people had sacked a local police station and set fire to a court building and a council office.

"The people felt there was no reason the government should function here," he said. "The people know what is happening in Male and they are concerned the military is going out and killing people."

He said angry residents had gathered initially at the harbour area on Thinadhoo, also south of the capital, and asked police to surrender.

A spree of looting and arson followed as protesters entered the magistrates' court and a council building.