18 January 2013

Mozambique: Police Present More Alleged Kidnappers

Maputo — The Mozambican police on Thursday presented to reporters three men allegedly involved in the kidnappings of businessmen of Asian origin in Maputo.

The three, named only as Tino, Romano and Jafar, were allegedly among a group of seven people recently arrested in connection with the kidnapping, on 18 December, of Zainadin Ali, owner of the Lafoes Bakery and Cakeshop.

The police also showed reporters three houses, in the Maputo neighbourhoods of 25 June, Aeroporto and Magoanine, where the kidnappers had kept their victims in captivity.

The spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Pedro Cossa, who presented the three men to the press, also said the police had seized a bank deposit slip, showing that the gang had deposited 57,000 US dollars in cash.

The police also seized a Toyota Land Cruiser VX vehicle, belonging to Romano. Cossa said it had frequently been used to transport kidnap victims to the houses used as private prisons, while the kidnappers negotiated ransom payments.

The three detainees all categorically denied any involvement in the kidnappings and said they did not know why they had been arrested, although Cossa said that, under police interrogation, five of the seven people arrested had confessed.

Romano claimed he is a “personal trainer”, and that he trains his clients in a gymnasium in Aeroporto neighbourhood where he has lived for he past ten years. “I never kidnapped anyone. I don’t know why I’m here”, he protested.

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