Mozambique: Police Believe Ambush Was Work of Common Criminals

Maputo — Nampula (Mozambique), 17 Sep (AIM) - The Mozambican police in the northern province of Nampula have not ruled out the possibility that the ambush against a bus and a truck in Malema district last Friday was the work of common criminals, with no political motivations.

Speaking in Nampula city on Monday, at his weekly press briefing, the spokesperson for the Nampula Provincial Police Command, Zacarias Nacute, said that one person (the bus driver) was killed in the ambush, and three others were injured by a gang using firearms and machetes.

"Right now the police in Nampula has sent a team to undertake investigations, and has stepped up security in the entire area", he said.

He dismissed the possibility that the attackers were members of the armed islamist groups who have been carrying out murderous attacks in the neighbouring province of Cabo Delgado since October 2017.

Nacute thought the ambush might have been the work of "individuals who wanted to steal goods from the passengers on the bus, since the vehicles on inter-district or inter-provincial routes carry a lot of merchandise. We believe they were motivated by the prospect of making easy money by stealing the passengers' possessions. However, we are on the ground investigating".

The attackers may well not have come from Nampula. Some of the passengers reported that they were speaking in sena and ndau, languages used in central Mozambique which are not widely spoken in Nampula.

The attack has had a chilling effect on the election campaign in Malema district, with political parties reluctant to campaign outside of Malema municipality.

Nacute told reporters that, since the start of the election campaign, on 31 August, the Nampula police have registered 11 violations of the electoral legislation.

"If we compare this campaign with previous ones, we can say it is taking place in a calm and orderly environment", said Nacute.

All the offences recorded concerned the destruction of electoral propaganda of rival political parties, and 12 people have been detained in connection with these cases.

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