MALE: A criminal court in the Maldives has issued an arrest order for former president Mohamed Nasheed and his former defence minister, party officials told AFP Thursday.
"The court has given the order to arrest Nasheed and the (former) defence minister," Adam Gafoor, a senior figure in Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party, told AFP.
A second party source confirmed the news, but new Maldives police chief Abdulla Riyas said he had no knowledge of the order.
"I am not aware of it," he said.
Army deployed to Maldives second city
The army deployed to the Maldives' second-largest city Addu on Thursday as officials struggled to contain outbreaks of violence across the holiday paradise archipelago.
After what Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodig described as a "complete breakdown" of law and order, around 300 troops and armed police arrived on a coastguard vessel from the capital Male.
"They are on the streets now making arrests," Sodig, who said his wrist was fractured when he was beaten up by a group of people who attacked him in his office, told AFP by phone.
The deployment followed a night of violence which saw two police stations, a courthouse and a private residence in Addu attacked and burned by groups of protesters.
The unrest had spread from Male, where police clashed Wednesday with supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, the former president who said he was ousted in a coup the day before.
Prior to the troop deployment in Addu, the mayor said security forces had been absent from the city streets, with soldiers from a nearby military base focused on protecting Gan Airport.
The airport is a major conduit for foreign tourists travelling from the capital to luxury resort islands.
With 32,000 residents, Addu is the second-largest city in the Maldives.
Sodig, a member of Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said the initial protests in Addu had been peaceful by MDP supporters against the new administration installed in Male.
"But then other groups became involved and it all turned violent," he said.
"Tourists flying directly off to the resorts would be safe, but nobody should come into the city proper," he added.
In Male, military spokesman Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef confirmed troops had moved in.
"The military has not taken over Addu but yes, our men are on the ground," he said.
"We are guarding the airport and in Addu troops are trying to maintain law and order with the police."
Addu City comprises three small islands linked by causeways.
The tourist resorts are located on small coral islets a short plane flight away.