Maputo — Unidentified armed men on Thursday night kidnapped the son of a prominent businessman, Nathoobai, in the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, reports the independent television station STV.
The kidnapping occurred shortly after 19.00 when four armed and masked men intercepted Nathoobai's son on the terrace of the Quinta Nico restaurant in central Quelimane.
An eye-witness said the four men "arrived suddenly, they threatened the young man who is known here as Michal, and they took him somewhere unknown. The situation was terrible, since they were armed and masked. The clients didn't know what to do."
This eye-witness said the gang also stole mobile phones from several of the clients, and then left with their captive. Shortly afterwards a police team arrived to inspect the scene of the crime. Several friends of the kidnapped youth went to the nearest police station to demand more vigorous police action.
This is the third kidnapping of businesspeople or their family members within the space of a week. The earlier kidnappings, on Sunday and Tuesday, both took place in Maputo, and the victims were a businessman and the wife of a businessman.
Such kidnappings have been occurring with some regularity since 2011. Usually, the criminals demand a huge ransom for the release of their victims. Occasionally the police have caught the gunmen who carried out a kidnapping, but almost never have those who ordered the abductions been traced.
Some business people, notably in Beira, have publicly asked why they should continue paying taxes to a state which is unable or unwilling to protect them.