Moz police suspended

2009-03-20 08:34

Maputo - Two senior Mozambican police officials have been suspended following the deaths of 12 people in custody, authorities said.

Mogincual district police commander Domingos Coutino and head of the criminal investigation department in the same district Basilio Naculo were suspended for negligence, Nampula provincial commander Arsenia Massingue said in a telephone interview on Thursday evening.

"What we have now gathered in our investigation is that the prisoners died from overcrowding in a cell which held 41 prisoners more than its carrying capacity of 34," she said.

The deaths in the province, about 3 000km north of Maputo, came to light on Tuesday morning.

The 12 prisoners killed were part of 29 rioters arrested last Saturday in the same district for allegedly leading protests against Red Cross volunteers and government officials they accused of manufacturing cholera.

The disease has killed 15 people in that province since January.