Maputo — The general commander of the Mozambican police force, Jorge Khalau, has warned that tough measures will be taken against undisciplined policemen, against those who collaborate with criminals, and against those who extort money from the public,
Speaking to residents of the neighbourhood of Tsalala, in the southern city of Matola, at the weekend, Khalau declared “we must first purify the ranks of the police force, so that we can then defend the public properly. But the public must also denounce policemen who work with criminals, or who are undisciplined”.
According to a report on the independent television station STV, Khalau said “we do not accept this type of behaviour, and so we take tough measures. We have already expelled members of the police, including the traffic police and even the Criminal Investigation Police. This year alone we have had 10 cases”.
At the meeting, Tsalala residents complained of high levels of crime in their neighbourhood and an absence of the police. Taking advantage of the lack of street lighting, criminals have burgled homes, and mugged people in the street.
“When you go to the police to complain, nobody listens to you, because the police on duty want money”, denounced a woman named Dita Matsolo. “We can’t sleep here, and even in the afternoon there are many thieves who steal from us. We’re not at peace and we ask for the police to really do something”.
A standard police excuse for not answering cries for help from the public is that they have no fuel for the police cars. So they ask the victims of crime to buy fuel.
“Where am I going to complain, if I don’t have any money to buy fuel?”, asked Joaquim Macaringue.
There had been promises in the past to put a police station in Tsalala, but the promise has not yet been honoured. “We ask you to take this task seriously and not to deceive us”, said Macaringue. “The police are always giving us plans of what they intend to do, but they never carry them out”.