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As kidnappers grow rich, Mozambique stays poor

Kidnappings are harming the economy as a whole, and until the authorities change their methods, the kidnappers will keep winning

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo credit: Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. Today we report on a recent increase in kidnappings in the city of Maputo, but there is no doubt that this is merely an increase in an old problem that plagues the country and in particular its capital city. As usual, business owners and members of their families are being targeted by the kidnappers, so it is natural that the CTA, Mozambique’s business association, should be taking a stand on the issue. Even so, there are probably more effective measures that could be taken besides the tougher sentences recommended by CTA vice-president Prakash Prehlad.

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From the Zitamar Live Blog:

Zitamar Mozambique Live Blog
Cabo Ligado Update: 13-26 November 2023 ◾️Three villages attacked by insurgents in Muidumbe and Mocímboa da Praia districts ◾️Insurgents return to Messalo river ◾️Constitutional Council gives victory to opposition party Renamo in four municipalities Also available in Portuguese
Zitamar Mozambique Live Blog
Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett Limited (THL) will vote on 8 December on whether to accept one of two new business rescue plans presented by bidders RGS Group and the Vision consortium. The successful bidder will take over THL’s operations in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. RGS Grou…

It is well known and widely acknowledged, even by the government, that kidnappers benefit from help and collaboration within law enforcement agencies. How can they police themselves? The obvious solution is to bring in outside help and advice, but for one reason or another, this has yet to happen. In August, President Filipe Nyusi dismissed interior minister Arsenia Massingue, apparently out of frustration with her failure to get a grip on kidnappings. One of his grievances at the time was that Massingue had not taken up an offer from an Israeli company to help with the problem. That proposal ran into opposition from the criminal investigation service Sernic. There is no word yet from Massingue’s replacement as interior minister, Pascoal Ronda, on whether international cooperation will be sought in dealing with kidnappings.

But it is clear that outside intervention can make a difference. When Indian businessman Rizwan Adatia, owner of the supermarket chain Recheio, was rescued from kidnappers in 2020, it was as a result of pressure from the Indian government. Adatia then left the country in the face of extortion threats. Although he continues to do business in Mozambique, the country has lost a significant philanthropist. He was not alone: newspaper Canal de Moçambique estimated at the time that around 150 families of Indian or Pakistani descent had left the country due to kidnappings since they emerged as a phenomenon in 2011.

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