Maputo — The Mozambican police in the northern province of Nampula have arrested three members of a gang dedicated to the theft and illegal sale of precious stones and ivory, according to a report in Wednesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais".
The gang was caught in possession of seven elephant tusks, more than 40 kilos of precious stones and paper which the police believe was being used to produce counterfeit US dollar notes.
When the police, in coordination with the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC), moved in to arrest the gang members, as they were negotiating the sale of some of the goods, one of them attempted to escape.
The spokesperson for the Nampula Provincial Police Command, Zacaris Nacute, told reporters this obliged the police to open fire. They hit the man running away in the leg, and he later received medical care in Nampula Central Hospital.
The gang members took the police to a house where the ivory and other illicit goods were stored. They claimed they were only acting as middlemen. "I just received a phone call asking me to go and fetch a parcel, and I didn't know what it was all about. I just receive commissions", said one of the gang, Assanito Daniel.
The police believe other members of the gang are still and large, and pledged to hunt them down and bring them to justice.