1. State security agents involved in kidnappings

 

For more than eleven years Mozambique has been rocked by kidnapping and collection of ransom amounts. In some cases there are suspicions of involvement of state security agents in these crimes.

Recently, a group that includes police officers involved in the protection of high-level individuals was arrested in Manica, accused of involvement in kidnapping. The network extends to Sofala, where it is identified as the mastermind of several kidnappings that occur regularly in the two provinces of central Mozambique, and that targets businessmen. One of the members of the group of suspects, a police officer, confessed to participating in a kidnapping. In questioning by the police he accused a fellow service colleague of coercing him into neutralizing the alleged victim because she was using drugs. The explanation doesn’t convince the Manica police. The spokesman in that province, Ahmed Bolacho, said members of the police were at the forefront of kidnappings. According to the Police (PRM) in Manica, “with continuous investigative work it was possible to identify that they were two police officers, one from the prison guard and the other from the PRM,” Ahmed Bolacho said.

Ten agents of the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) will go on trial on October 3. They are accused of using classified information from the sector where they worked to kidnap a citizen in Maputo and extorting money from her, said Maputo Prosecutor’s spokesman Jorge Chivinge.

In addition to being charged with the crime of kidnapping, agents will also answer for the crimes of money laundering, use of prohibited weapons, abuse of office, abandonment of the injured, among other crimes.

Also in Maputo, three PRM agents were arrested by SERNIC and indicted for the crime of kidnapping.

The accused are related to the Maputo City Command and one of SERNIC in Maputo province. The agents, aged 35 to 37, are suspected of kidnapping businessman Bharat Kumar in Maputo. According to the spokesman for SERNIC in Maputo, Hilário Lole, the three agents are

directly involved in the crime and have been identified through the security cameras of the victim’s commercial establishment.

Lawyer and former Chairperson of the Bar Association, Gilberto Correia, is surprised by the attitudes of the police.

“Now the anti-kidnapping brigade has been created and this brigade has agents who have learned to fight kidnappings and use this knowledge to commit kidnappings for their own benefit,” the lawyer said. Correia believes that it will not be possible to fight kidnappings in Mozambique through the national police, as many members are already “contaminated” by corruption. Therefore, says the jurist, “we must ask for international support.” Gilberto Correia is skeptical about the creation of new units and says that the real unsolved problem is “fighting corruption, which is the greatest evil. It took too long to fight these police officers who formed a network now very strong with money to pay the ransoms,” concludes Gilberto Correia.

 

2. Locals flee Mueda District after discovery of bodies

 

The population of a in the district of Mueda, Cabo Delgado, found the bodies of five people with signs of having been violently murdered, in the forests on Wednesday 28 September.The bodies were deteriorated and unidentified, said a member of the local militia, admitting that they may have been “terrorists who were wounded when they invaded Homba village” last week and who eventually succumbed. “You can see that they are new faces,” he added. The discovery was made while the population was carrying out routine activities in the forest. “We were looking for firewood very close to the village and we smelled a strong smell: there were dead people with marks of violence”, said a woman from Homba who, meanwhile, is with her family on the run to the district headquarters.

Another source said the discovery was made after attacks by unknown people in recent weeks, prompting the stampede of several communities (Nanhala, Homba, Xaxaxa, Mandela, Mapate and Nangumbe). “We are leaving. The scenario is one of fear and we are going to the district headquarters of Mueda”, said one source.

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