06/09/2013 11:12 BST | Updated 06/11/2013 10:12 GMT

Maldives Police Detained 'Cursed' Coconut Ahead Of Elections

The coconut was examined and deemed 'innocent' (file picture)

Police in the Maldives seized a coconut amid suspicions it had been cursed with black magic and placed near a polling booth to disrupt upcoming elections.

The fruit, on which was inscribed a verse from the Koran, was located by a voting station close to a school on Guraidhoo Island on Tuesday, Maldives channel Minivan News reported.

Using black magic to either prevent people from voting or influence them is a common practice on the island, which is one of 1,192 which make up the strictly Islamic nation.

"The police brought a 'ruqyah' practitioner (white magician) to examine the coconut, who said it was a fake," a police source told the newspaper.

"Because it's a fake the police are not worried," the source added.

No arrests have been made and with the case apparently cracked, the island is on course to host presidential elections on Saturday.

Residents had earlier protested against placing the ballot box so near the school, citing fears of such spells being cast, CNM news reported.

The national election commission has attempted to allay these fears by promising to accept responsibility "if anyone falls under a spell or comes down ill".

The Maldives, a nation of 300,000 people, introduced democratic elections after 30 years of autocratic rule ended in 2008.

Its legal system contains elements of Islamic Sharia law, as well as English common law.