Mozambique’s National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) has claimed to have thwarted a kidnapping attempt, on Wednesday morning, on businessman Mahebub Gulam Rassul, the owner of Tiger Centre, in the streets of Maputo.
During the attempt, police were able to arrest two of the would-be kidnappers, whilst one managed to get away.
With rumours suggesting that the two arrested would-be kidnappers were allegedly SERNIC agents, police said instead that they were two South African nationals.
This is not the first time that Rassul escapes from the kidnappers. In November 2016, he evaded an attempt as he was leaving his shopping centre, which sits just a stone’s throw from the Ministry of the Interior and the Police General Command, as well as from the SERNIC national directorate.
He again escaped from the clutches of the kidnappers in 2012. His would-be captors were wearing police uniform.
On 27 April 2022, Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili told parliament that judges, lawyers, police and SERNIC agents are involved in the wave of kidnappings.
“Some of those who should be at the front line of the fight (against kidnappings) ally themselves with criminals and compromise investigations, which distorts the spirit of their mission to protect the citizen, to guarantee public order and security,” Buchili said at the time.
She accused these compromised elements of weakening the investigations and the opening of cases against kidnappers.
The fact that Rassul has managed to escape kidnap attempts hints at the involvement of senior police officers in protecting him. It is alleged that plainclothes or uniformed police officers carry out the illegal activity of protecting private entities and individuals in exchange for payment.
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