Maputo — Four armed men kidnapped a six year old girl on Tuesday morning, in the central Mozambican city of Beira, according to a report carried by the independent television station, STV.
According to eye-witnesses cited by STV, the four kidnappers, wearing masks, snatched the girl as she stepped out of a vehicle to enter a private school that was giving English lessons. The witnesses, who insisted on anonymity, said the girl's car was being followed by another vehicle which they initially believed was taking other children to the school.
The car that was being followed stopped in front of the school and two children aged between seven and nine stepped out, one of the witnesses said. When a third child, apparently five or six years old, was preparing to get out of the car, two of the kidnappers left their own vehicle, and encircled the child.
The driver panicked and fled into the school, and at that moment the child was kidnapped, the witness continued.
One of the school staff said he had seen at least two of the kidnappers brandishing pistols. The kidnappers and their victim made off at speed, and the current whereabouts of the gang are unknown.
The girl has not been named. All that is known about her so far is that her parents are business people resident in Beira. There has been no statement yet from the police.
A wave of kidnappings of business people and their relatives, often of Asian origin, began in Mozambican cities in late 2011. However, in the last couple of years the number of kidnappings has fallen dramatically, and this is the first case reported for several months.