Maputo — Mozambican Interior Minister, Arsenio Massingue, has accused some policemen (whom she did not name) of passing secret information on to the islamist terrorists operating in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Cited by the independent television station, STV, Massingue said she had discovered this during her recent visit to Cabo Delgado.
"Some say our work is thorny, but the thorns are those we create for ourselves, when we have deviations in behaviour, when we don't have professional secrecy, and we end up informing the enemy where our forces are", she said, addressing a parade at the police command, in the provincial capital, Pemba.
Other serious problems in Cabo Delgado, she said, were policemen abandoning their positions, and the consumption of alcohol among the police force.
"We find that here people leave their posts". Massingue said. "It is inconceivable that a policeman, who swore an oath on the flag, who promised to serve the State and to sacrifice his own life, if necessary, should abandon his position".
This behaviour, she added, created a sense of insecurity among the public, and left towns and cities vulnerable to criminal actions.
"It makes no sense that a member of UPAI (the police unit that protects high ranking figures) abandons his post and allows the homes of leading officials to be burgled", Massingue said. She was also incensed to find that members of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR, the Mozambican equivalent of the riot police) "instead of sacrificing their lives in the fight against terrorism in the north of the province, leave their posts to go and get drunk".
The Minister demanded immediate changes in police behaviour. "Let's stop being corrupt and undisciplined, let's stop being lazy and not turning up for work", she demanded. "These practices must die and be buried, not in 30 days' time, not in eight days' time, but right now".
Meanwhile, two Zimbabwean soldiers have been detained in the central province of Manica, on suspicion of attempting to smuggle explosives to the terrorists in Cabo Delgado.
They were caught at Machipanda on the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, attempting to bring 150 kilos of explosives and their respective detonators into the country, inside a Mercedes Benz truck.
The soldiers, who have not been named, claimed not to know what the truck was carrying. As far as they were concerned, the cargo was just merchandise they were taking to its supposed owner.
"We came from Mutare", said one of the Zimbabweans. "We were just asked to carry this product. We didn't know we were getting into problems".
The owner showed up and claimed the explosives would be used in gold mining in the Penhalonga area of Manica. "We use the explosives to break open rocks", he said.
The Manica director of the Mozambican customs service, Ulisses Tembe, said the goods have been seized, since the two Zimbabweans had no authorization to bring explosives into the country.
There are bodies in the defence and interior ministries that deal with such imports, "and the situation becomes serious because of the situation of terrorism we are confronting in Cabo Delgado", he said.
The Zimbabweans will be charged with the crime of the illegal import of explosives.