Man escapes SA organ hunters

2004-03-10 21:13

Maputo - A 23-year-old Mozambican recently escaped from the clutches of alleged human organ traffickers in South Africa, Mozambique's chief prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Attorney General Joaquim Madeira told AFP the man was taken to South Africa by another Mozambican who promised him a job there.

"The 'boy' told us he was instead handed over to an armed gang somewhere in that country and subjected to horrible scenes, such as human body parts," Madeira said after delivering his annual address to parliament.

Madeira explained the man escaped after one of the gang leaders, who was also Mozambican, found that the intended victim hailed from his native southern province of Gaza.

He then secretly helped the 23-year-old out of South Africa.

"The boy was in a high state of trauma when he returned, he even refused to talk," Madeira said, adding his office was investigating the case with South African authorities.

In his parliamentary address, Madeira said the issue of human organ and child trafficking was a complex issue and investigations took time.

He said the issue dated back several years when an Indian was arrested for allegedly ordering a human head from a group of criminals in the capital Maputo.

The Indian was mysteriously released and then fled the country.

The Mozambique Human Rights League and Roman Catholic missionaries have meanwhile alleged that there is a human organ trafficking network operating in Mozambique.

Madeira reiterated that a preliminary investigation into the allegations had found no evidence of human organs being removed and sold.

A team of forensic specialists has been in the Nampula area where the ring allegedly operates and examined 14 cases of violent death or disappearances linked to the sale of organs, but it said it had found no proof of any organ trafficking network.

But following the allegations, a Brazilian nun, Doraci Edinger, was found murdered in the town of Nampula. Six people were arrested in connection with her death.

Several nuns in Nampula have received death threats since the allegations first came out. They said several attempts had also been made to abduct children from an orphanage they run.