Mozambique: Another Kidnap in Maputo

Maputo — Despite the arrests of 11 members of a kidnap gang over the past fortnight, another Mozambican businessman has been abducted, bringing the number of known kidnap victims up to 23.

The latest kidnap occurred on Thursday night in central Maputo. The victim was 26 year old Wassem Ahmed, one of the owners of the shop "Casa das Loicas"

According to a report in the daily paper "Diario de Mocambique", Ahmed was kidnapped as he set off from the building where his wife's parents live for a local mosque for prayers. A security guard at the building attempted to go to Ahmed's rescue.

The immediate reaction from the police is that this was an attempt to devalue the work already done in arresting members of the kidnap.

"With this kidnap, those who are ordering the crimes are trying to persuade the public that the people already detained have nothing to do with the kidnappings and that the true kidnappers are still at large", said a police source cited by the paper.

One possibility is that the abduction of Ahmed is a copycat crime. The millions of dollars paid in ransom for the earlier victims may have persuaded other criminals that this is an easy way to make money.

Meanwhile, the independent television station STV has revealed that two of the four kidnappers shown by police to reporters on Thursday are renegade policemen. One of them ended his basic police training last year, STV said.

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