Mozambican kidnap victim fails to recognise accused

Mozambican businessman Ibrahim Gani, owner of the Incopal food processing factory, on Thursday failed to recognise in court the four men accused of kidnapping him last year.

Gani gave evidence on the sixth day of the trial of the four, but told the Maputo Provincial Court, sitting in the southern city of Matola, that the kidnapping had happened so fast that he could not remember the faces of the men who attacked him.

According to the report of the trial in Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, he said that once he had been seized, a hood was placed over his head, so that he could see nothing. He was then driven to a darkened house, where he could hear but not see his captors,

Gani told the court that the kidnapping, on 19 May 2012, had left him so traumatized that he was unable to recognise any of the kidnappers.

However, earlier media reports claimed that Gani was under pressure not to speak. Allegedly he had received anonymous phone calls, in which threats were made against Gani and his family. But when the judge asked him if this was true, Gani replied “I have never received threats”.

The four accused, Arlindo Timana, Manoa Valoi, Inacio Mirosse and Edson Zacarias de Jesus, all deny any involvement in the kidnapping. The first three confessed to the crime during the initial investigations, but in court they withdrew the confessions.

Gani’s domestic servant, Renato Comboio, and his security guard, Belito Costa, have also come under threat. This was supposedly why they too had failed to recognise the accused, although footage from surveillance cameras shows them talking to one of the accused, Inacio Mirosse, on the day of the kidnapping.

Not all the witnesses have suffered from memory loss. Two people identified Valoi as the man who rented the house in the Matola neighbourhood of Malhampswene where Gani was kept prisoner for a week.

One was the owner of the house, Sonia Rangel, who recognised Valoi as the man with whom she had signed the rent contract. A middleman in this deal, Oswaldo Dombola, also identified Valoi.

Rangel said the house was rented to Valoi for 9,000 meticais (about 300 US dollars) a month. The deal was for three months – Rangel received, via bank transfer, 18,000 meticais for the first two months, while the final 9,000 meticais were to be paid to Dombola as his “commission”.

Post published in: Africa News

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