Maputo — The provincial court in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado had claimed that the South African businessman Andre Hanekom, accused of financing the terrorist attacks in the province, has been released on bail - but his wife, Frances, says he is still being held by the military.
The spokesperson for the court, Zacarias Napatima, cited in Friday's issue of the independent daily
"O Pais", claimed that a judge questioned Hanekom, fixed bail, and ordered his release. "Right now he is free", he declared.
Frances Hanekom categorically denies this claim. She says that she did indeed pay bail for her husband - but that was over three months ago, on 9 October.
Because the money was paid at the end of the day, the judge said Hanekom would be released the following day. She returned to the court on 10 October, where she was given the documents to take to the prison in Mocimboa da Praia, where her husband was being held.
But when she reached the prison, "they told me the commander needed to be present to sign the documents".
So she waited outside the jail. She saw the Mocimboa da Praia director of the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) drive into the jail, and shortly afterwards drive out again. She caught a glimpse of her husband inside the car, although a prison guard inside the car was trying to hide him from her sight.
She later discovered that he had been taken illegally to the military barracks in Mueda, even though civilian prisoners should never be held in military facilities.
The only time Frances Hanekom has seen her husband since was on 6 November when police took him home to collect evidence of his alleged involvement in the Cabo Delgado attacks.
The public prosecutor's office subsequently accused Hanekom of paying members of the Cabo Delgado terrorist group a monthly wage of 10,000 meticais (about 164 US dollars). No explanation has been offered as to why a South African businessman should finance a group inspired by islamic fundamentalism.
The indictment against him claims that SERNIC discovered in Hanekom's house gunpowder, machetes, bows, arrows and rockets. These weapons were regarded as sufficient proof of his involved in the finance, logistics and coordination of the attacks.
Frances Hanekom believes the charges are absurd, and has demanded that her husband be granted access to his lawyer and his family.