Maputo — The General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, has warned that large numbers of firearms are still circulating illegally, and this contributes to an increase in crime.
Speaking to police officers in the central city of Beira on Tuesday, Rafael urged members of the force to do all in their power to collect guns held illegally by private citizens.
Cited in Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, Rafael said “We are concerned at the proliferation of illegal weapons. You in the police force have a great challenge to bring these weapons back. All of you must be committed to searching for these weapons”.
Those found in possession of illegal weapons, he added, must also be questioned about where they had obtained them and what they were being used for.
Rafael was also concerned at the large number of lynchings that have taken place in Beira, where mobs have seized people accused of theft, and beaten them to death. Sofala province, of which Beira is the capital, topped the list of provinces in terms of number of lynchings.
“The lynchings remain one of our great concerns”, said Rafael. “You must continue to urge the public not to take the law into their own hands”.
“You must tell people that they run the risk of lynching their own relatives and then later realising they have killed an innocent person”, he added.