Maputo — Criminals shot dead a Mozambican customs officer named Alves Manhica on Friday morning as he tried to prevent a robbery, Radio Mozambique reports.
The incident happened at about 06.00, near the Moamba toll gate on the road from Maputo to the South African border, when Manhica was on his way to work at the Ressano Garcia border post.
When Manhica saw a group of men attempting to rob a pick-up truck carrying three women towards the border, he tried to intervene. He stopped his car and went to aid the women. But when they saw a uniformed customs officer striding towards them, the criminals pulled out a gun and shot Manhica at point blank range.
Manhica died on the spot. The criminals then stole his car and sped off to an unknown destination.
The coordinator of the One Stop Border Project, Daude Daia, told reporters that Manhica was driving to Ressano Garcia, where his shift was due to begin at 08.00.
“When he drove past the Moamba toll gate he saw that a robbery was in progress, and stopped with the intention of helping the victims”, said Daia. “He managed to prevent the robbery. But unfortunately he paid with his life”.
“Robberies happen on this road because it is thought that people travelling to South Africa are carrying large sums of money with them”, he added.
The spokesperson for the Maputo Provincial Police Command, Joao Machava, said the police are working to discover the whereabouts of the criminals.
Ironically, Manica was murdered on the very day when the Mozambican police and customs service formally closed “Operação Sossego 2014” (“Operation Calm 2014”), a joint initiative that sought to guarantee public order and tranquillity during the festive season, ensure flexibility in the movement of people and goods over the border, and reduce the number of traffic accidents.