Maputo — A policeman shot a seven year old child dead in the central Mozambican city of Beira on Tuesday, according to a report on the independent television station STV.
The shooting occurred in the neighbourhood of Munhava, where the policemen, with two colleagues, was visiting a house to recover stolen goods.
A group of children gathered around the house to watch what was going on. The house was shielded from sight by a fence made of empty sacks, and so the children ripped part of the sacks in order to watch the police operation.
One of the policemen, angered by the children, went to remonstrate with them. An eye-witness named Anisia Rafael said “when he approached the children, he took out his gun and threatened to shoot them. A few seconds later we heard a shot, and we all ran. Then we saw that one of the children was lying on the ground, and was seriously injured in the head”.
The bystanders took the wounded child, named only as Joao, to hospital, but he died before they could reach medical care. Anisia Rafael claimed that the officer who fired the fatal shot was “very drunk”.
An angry crowd took the law into their own hands and attacked the policeman. He managed to escape, leaving on the ground his police cap and insignia.
A spokesperson for the Sofala Provincial Police command said that the policeman, who has not been named, had handed his gun in at a police post, but did not return to the 11th Beira precinct, where he is stationed. He has become a fugitive and the police are now looking for him.
The police have offered to pay the costs of Joao's funeral.