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The Mozambican police have begun criminal proceedings against two suspects in the case of last week’s assassination of Mahamudo Amurane, the mayor of the northern city of Nampula.
At his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Inacio Dina, said the two men had been detained but were then conditionally released. He did not name them, but said they are regarded as suspects.
Monday’s issue of the Nampula electronic newsheet “Wamphula Fax” contains many more details, but the Nampula police command have yet to conform (or deny) any of them.
According to the paper, at least 14 people have been detained, but it does not give the names of any of them. It says they include “a councillor who was the right hand man of Amurane”, and a contractor who was working on installing a restaurant on an upper floor of Amurane’s residence.
The two allegedly met with Amurane on the day of the shooting (4 October) to discuss the building work. When they were leaving the house, a man appeared and fired the three fatal shots at Amurane. The contractor went to Amurane’s aid, and drove him to Nampula Central Hospital, but he was dead on arrival.
The police initially took the two men in for questioning, since they were witnesses, but then concluded there were suspicions that they might have been involved in the crime.
A third detention was of a member of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), who had allegedly made death threats against the mayor.
Amurane was elected mayor in the 2013 municipal elections on the MDM ticket, but this year there has been a bitter dispute between Amurane and the MDM leadership. Although he never formally resigned from the MDM, Amurane announced his intention to run for a second term of office next year, but not as an MDM candidate. In this dispute both sides swapped insults and used intemperate language.
A further 11 people were detained on Saturday in various parts of the city, the paper added, but it does not know who they are. Apparently they do not include the man who fired the shots, and “Wamphula Fax” believes he has probably left Nampula.
The relatives of the councillor and the contractor, the paper says, are deeply upset that they have been converted from witnesses into suspects. They say they regarded Amurane as a friend, and the police have no reason to suspect them.