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More vigilante warning (Maputo)

The reason for the letter is to request your assistance in raising awareness relating to a public security matter. Your Minfo newsletter targets the expatriate English speaking community on current affairs matters and is ideally suited.

During this past week Richard Fair, myself and Steven Allison had to deal with vigilante style roadblocks and aggression whilst travelling in the surrounding Maputo/ Matola suburbs at night. We were lucky to escape unharmed but fear it will be a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.

Due to a lack of adequate policing and increased crime levels, communities have formed their own “neighborhood watch” groups. Their objective is to prevent criminal activities in their respective areas. For most part this system is effective and members on patrol act with responsibility. There are unfortunately also incidents where members on patrol display poor discipline, get drunk and extort/ rob/ attack and even set fire to unsuspecting victims. These groups operate from around 11pm to 6am by manning self-styled roadblocks on the major entry/ exit roads within their Bairros.Members wear no uniform, are armed with pangas and sticks and force vehicles/ pedestrians to stop and declare their business. Wooden logs and rocks are utilized to force vehicles to stop.

Richard encountered a group on Thursday evening (8 Aug) at Beluluane near Mozal when dropping off some workers. Both Steven and my incidents occurred early on the morning of the 9th near the Zimpeto stadium after turning off the main EN-1. As stated before we were very fortunate to have escaped unharmed. Steven’s car collected a few panga marks as he tried to find a way around 3x roadblocks at 3am.

Embassies, diplomats, NGO’s and big corporates do have internal policies and restrictions prohibiting night driving. The sector atrisk (besides the local communities themselves) is the smaller expatriate business community who do not have the luxury of having a security department advising on these matters.

· Protected content should people do: Don’t drive around the Maputo & Matola local communities at night. Wait until sunrise to do your business. If you have to act on an emergency call-out take G4S/ Arkhe or a policeman to accompany you.

It would also be great if you have a contact at LM radio tobroadcast this warning to listeners.

Maputo Forum