8 August 2018

Mozambique: Cardoso's Killer Back in Mozambique

One of Mozambique’s most wanted men is in custody in Maputo after being deported from Thailand last week. Legalbrief reports that Nini Satar is expected to be sent to South Africa following police interrogation.

He was behind the high-profile assassination of an investigative journalist and is also accused of masterminding a syndicate responsible for the kidnapping of Mozambican businessmen.

The Daily Maverick reports that Satar is most notorious for his involvement in the 2000 murder of investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso, for which he was sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment. However, he was released on medical parole in 2014 and he fled the country. The Attorney-General’s office subsequently released a statement accusing Satar of having ‘formed a criminal organisation with the purpose of kidnapping Mozambican citizens, so that later large amounts of money in ransom could be demanded’.

More than 100 kidnappings have taken place in Mozambique since 2011 and there has been a spate of similar abductions in neighbouring South Africa. ‘The Satar family, even before the Cardoso murder trial, was notorious for loan-sharking, lending money at extortionate interest rates to other Muslim-owned businesses in Maputo,’ said journalist Paul Fauvet.

He said the family was feared and hated among sections of the Muslim community. ‘Why were Muslim or Indian-origin business people targeted? Because they are rich – and many of them would be known to Nini Satar.’ The Daily Maverick understands from a source close to the Layaqat Allie Parker kidnapping investigation that South African police have been interested in Satar for his potential involvement in local kidnappings for some time. Full Daily Maverick report

Legalbrief reports that Cardoso was shot dead in central Maputo on 22 November 2000, while investigating a $14m fraud connected with the privatisation of Mozambique's largest bank, Banco Comercial de Moçambique. In the 2002 murder trial of the six suspects, it was claimed that Nyimpine Chissano, the son of Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, paid for Cardoso's murderer.

Aníbal dos Santos, a Portuguese citizen who was said to have masterminded the murder, was convicted in absentia in 2003 after escaping from prison. During his 2006 retrial, the court upheld his sentence of 30 years in prison.

Carlos Cardoso profile

Meanwhile, South African police are investigating whether Satar can be linked to several local abductions. Last month, businessman Layaqat Parker was abducted at his Parow business and there is still no word of his whereabouts.

The Cape Times reports that a year ago, another businessman Sadeck Ahmed, was kidnapped outside his business in Salt River. He was returned home after two months. There were reports that a ransom of R20m was paid for his release, but his family denied it. And the following month, Omar Carrim was taken by a group of unknown men after leaving his business in Pretoria. Police later found his burnt-out Mercedes-Benz and Carrim was released by his captors in December. Full Cape Times report (subscription needed)

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