Mozambique: Three Soldiers Arrested for Selling Guns

Maputo — Three members of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) have been arrested for stealing and selling firearms.

According to Orlando Mudumane, spokesperson for the Maputo City Police Command, cited in Wednesday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias", the men, named as 29 year old A.

Francisco, M. Kuamende (42) and I Naveta (29), are stationed at different FADM units in Maputo City and Province. Also arrested was 28 year old F, Joao, who purchased one of the stolen weapons, an AK-47 assault rifle.

Mudumane said the three soldiers sold the guns for 23,000 meticais (about 780 US dollars) each. One of the stolen guns was recovered in Bilene, in the southern district of Gaza, but in this case the purchaser is still at large.

"They are members of the armed forces with several years of experience, who used their positions to obtain guns and sell them to criminals", Mudumane added.

"The police became aware of the modus operandi of this gang", he said, "and carried out an operation in Alto-Mae (an inner-Maputo suburb) to prevent more guns from falling into the hands of bandits. During this operation, the four men were detained while they were making a transaction".

Meanwhile five policemen in the southern city of Matola are facing disciplinary proceedings, accused of negligence that led to the escape of 16 suspects held in the cells of their police station.

The escape occurred on 8 November, and is blamed on carelessness by one of the jailers who opened the cell door, to let a detainee back in. This detainee was returning to the cell after, for reasons as yet unknown, taking a meal in the company of a plain clothes police officer.

Briefing reporters on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Pedro Cossa, said that when the policeman opened the cell door, the detainees inside overpowered him and then made their escape.

"All five of the policemen working that night are subject to disciplinary proceedings in order to clear up the circumstances under which the detainees escaped", he said.

Only one of the 16 men who escaped has been recaptured to date.

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