Riot police members arrested for extortion

Two members of the Mozambican riot police (FIR) have been arrested for attempting to extort money from a citizen in the western province of Tete, reports Tuesday’s issue of the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.

According to Tete provincial police spokesperson Jaime Bazo, the two FIR agents pretended to be members of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC). They accused their victim of illegally selling precious stones, and threatened to arrest him if he did not pay them 1,000 meticais (about 40 US dollars).

The victim asked for time to obtain the money – but then went straight to a Tete police station to complain.

In coordination with the victim, the police set a trap for the corrupt FIR agents. The victim set a time and a place for handing over the money, but when he did so plain clothes police officers promptly arrested the FIR agents.

They have been suspended from duty, said Bazo, and criminal proceedings are being initiated against them.

“They will be expelled from the police force”, he guaranteed, “because the force does not accept this kind of policeman. This is the measure we have taken to purify the police”.

In the central city of Chimoio, FIR members have also been accused of abuses, including imposing what amounts to an illegal curfew in the 7th April neighbourhood.

The provincial FIR barracks have been set up in 7th April – right in the middle of a residential area. People living there have told “Diario de Mocambique” that they feel they are banned from walking the streets after 20.00, since people found in the open after that time have been beaten by FIR agents.

But local police commanders in Chimoio seem rather more tolerant of FIR behaviour than their counterparts in Tete. The police spokesperson in Manica, Belmiro Mutadiua, even told “Diario de Mocambique” that FIR “is working well”, and downplayed the complaints that citizens have made to the paper.

Mutadiua admitted that some FIR members had displayed “an excess of zeal” – but he urged citizens to denounce criminals rather than criticize FIR.

According to the Manica police public relations department, one FIR agent in Chimoio is facing disciplinary and criminal proceedings for “violating police norms”. Details of what he allegedly did have not yet been made public, other than that the victim was a health worker.

Post published in: Africa News

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