Mozambique - help bust kidnap ring

2012-05-02 22:43

Maputo - Mozambican authorities issued a public appeal on Wednesday to help bust a suspected kidnapping syndicate operating around the capital, with 14 abductions reported in recent months, including wealthy Asians.

"We have registered cases of kidnappings of our citizens, followed by ransom demands of large sums of money," public prosecutor Augosto Paulino told parliament.

"We appeal to all citizens to collaborate with the authorities to come forward with information about the movement of those responsible, their accomplices and the financiers of the kidnappings," he said.

Fourteen people were kidnapped in late 2011 and early 2012 said Paulino, breaking an official silence about the spate of abductions that appear to target families of wealthy business people.

So far information about the kidnappings had been detailed by local media who claim that the kidnappers target Mozambicans of South Asian origin.

In February, the Canal de Mocambique newspaper reported that one family paid out €1.67m in ransom for the release of an elderly relative who is a prominent member of the Ismaili Muslim community.

Although no new cases have been reported since February, the gang still appears to be active.

On Monday night four men tried to abduct two sisters in an upmarket neighbourhood of Maputo but the would-be kidnappers fled after a neighbour shot at them, the state-owned Noticias newspaper reported.

The women were injured during the gunfight.

The kidnappings have caused panic in the relatively calm country.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa

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