Mozambique: Former Police Officer Kidnapped in Beira

Maputo — A group of armed men, who claimed to be members of the Mozambican police force, on Tuesday night kidnapped a former police officer, Alexandre Nguiliche, from his home in the central city of Beira.

According to his wife, Laura Fernando, speaking to the independent television station STV, the kidnappers came for Nguiliche at around 21.00. "First, they knocked on the door saying they needed help to rescue someone who was supposedly being attacked by criminals in a snack bar near our house", she said. "My husband refused to help them. Then they identified themselves as police officers, and asked my husband to come out. Even so, he refused".

The kidnappers then split into groups. While some stood guard at the windows of the house, others used stones to break down the door. "They were all carrying pistols and they were shouting for my husband to come out", said Fernando. "He began to get dressed, and when he had finished, part of the door had given way, and one of the men stuck his hand through, pointing a pistol".

Nguiliche left with the armed men and Fernando has not heard from him since. His mobile phone rings, but he does not answer. STV tried dialing the same number, with the same result.

The neighbours say they heard the noise as the door was forced open - but they did nothing. They told STV they thought the couple were having a row, and so they did not approach to find out what was happening.

Nguiliche is a former police agent who used to be stationed in Muanza district, in the central province of Sofala. He was accused of misconduct last year, and was detained for three months, before being expelled from the police force.

So far the police have not commented on the case, but say they will do so "in due time".

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