Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Resultado de imagem para PGR MaputoThe Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) on Tuesday night announced that it has issued an international arrest warrant for one of the country’s most notorious assassins, Momad Assife Abdul Satar (better known as “Nini”), in connection with the wave of kidnappings that has shaken Mozambican cities since 2011.
In January 2002, the Maputo City Court found that Satar was one of the three business figures who had ordered the murder, in November 2000, of the country’s foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso. Satar was sentenced to 24 years and six months imprisonment, but was released on parole in 2014 after serving just half his sentence, on the ground that he had shown “good behavior” while in the Maputo top security prison.
Resultado de imagem para nini satarPolice and prosecutors, however, were convinced that, far from being a model inmate, Satar had been active, from his prison cell, in planning other crimes, including the kidnappings of business people. Satar never had any problem in acquiring cell phones, even though such devices are not allowed inside prisons.Satar was charged in a 2013 kidnap case – but the presiding judge scrubbed his name from the list of suspects. That same Maputo judge, Aderito Malhope, later in 2014, authorized Satar’s request to travel abroad, supposedly for medical treatment, though it was not stated what condition he suffered from which required treatment outside of Mozambique.He was supposed to go to India, but the parolee never set foot in that country. Supposedly, he changed his mind and went to London instead. He has never returned to Mozambique, but keeps a Facebook page detailing at least some of his travels, including to Geneva and Lisbon.
The PGR, however, continued to investigate Satar’s connections with the kidnappings and his name is on the charge sheet in two cases opened earlier this year. The PGR only went public with this information after one of Satar’s alleged accomplices, Jose Aly Coutinho, was sprung from police custody in a spectacular escape in downtown Maputo on Monday.Coutinho had been serving a 16 year sentence for theft and kidnapping. Like Satar, he too had no difficulty in communicating with the outside world from his prison cell, and the PGR is convinced he is one of those who ordered the murder, on 11 April 2016, of prominent Maputo prosecutor, Marcelino Vilanculos, who was investigating the spate of kidnappings.
Resultado de imagem para nini satar
During the latest investigations, says the PGR statement, “it was found that the accused, Momad Assife Abdul Satar, formed a criminal organization with the purpose of kidnapping Mozambican citizens, so that later large amounts of money in ransom could be demanded”.To this end, he formed “a criminal alliance” with Coutinho, and with another prisoner, Edith da Camara Cylindo, who has also now been accused of involvement in the assassination of Vilanculos.In light of these findings, the PGR issued an international arrest warrant, and asked the Maputo City Court to revoke Satar’s parole status. The City Court agreed and cancelled Satar’s parole in a dispatch dated 21 April. From that moment, Satar became a fugitive. If he is returned to Maputo and found guilty of any of the crime of which he is now accused, he will also have to serve the remainder of his sentence for the Cardoso murder.The PGR is also seeking the re-arrest of Coutinho, and of the second man who escaped on Monday, Alfredo Muchanga (who is not known to be connected with Satar), wherever they may be, in Mozambique or abroad.Meanwhile, the police have set up an inquiry into the circumstances of Monday’s escape. Those circumstances were peculiar, to put it mildly. Coutinho and Muchanga were taken from their cells in the Maputo City Police Command, and driven towards a Maputo police station, where they were to be interrogated in connection with alleged attempts to sabotage the security system in their cells. Before they could reach their destination, the vehicle, belonging to the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), was ambushed by a group of four armed men, all wearing hoods.
The assailants fired more than 20 shots, mostly at the tyres of the police vehicle, immobilizing it. The two policemen in the car, a Land Cruiser, fled for their lives, allowing the gangsters to rescue Coutinho and Muchanga. They then escaped in their getaway car, a Toyota Runx.
Resultado de imagem para policia atacada maputoThe chairperson of the Mozambican Bar Association, Flavio Menete, who is a former National Director of Criminal Investigation, interviewed by the independent television station STV, said that it was highly irregular to take dangerous criminals from prison for interrogation in a police station. The normal procedure is for the police interrogators to come to the prison.
Furthermore, although the cells are physically located in the Maputo City Police Command, they are an extension of the Maputo top security prison, which is under the control, not of the police, but of the national prison service, SERNAP. Menete pointed out that it was thus SERNAP, and not the police, who should authorise any movement of convicted prisoners. Yet there was no sign of SERNAP involvement in Monday’s events.A second police vehicle was escorting the Land Cruiser, but was held up at a set of traffic lights. Menete found this story absurd. For normally police cars on delicate or potentially dangerous missions do not stop for traffic lights – they just turn on their sirens and drive straight through them.A second jurist, Antonio Frangoulis, who was once the director of the Maputo branch of PIC, had no doubt that Monday’s escape could only have occurred with the involvement of police officers who had leaked information to the gang that rescued Countinho and Muchanga.

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