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Drivers on the roads in central Mozambique with military escorts face long delays reaching their destinations, and claim they are victims of extortion by members of the Armed Forces.
The situation on the roads in the centre of the country is poor, with drivers and passengers waiting three to five hours on average for military escorts. Sometimes only one column departs, leaving hundreds of vehicles waiting until the next day.
“There are days like last Friday when the column did not return until the following morning,” João Manasses told DW Africa, one of many travelers who said they were by now used to the situation.
Sometimes the column does not return because it is late. “If they arrive here after 3:00 p.m., they do not go back,” Manasses, who often travels between the village of Luenha in Changara district of Tete province and Beira city in Sofala province, said.
Long delays in military escorts often affect Malawian and Zambian hauliers, who can take a week to reach their destinations.
Goods driver John Tandicua confirms that the situation is not good, and admits that he gives money to the military to make his life easier.
“The military escort takes a long time to reach the destination, and they often ask for money for ‘refresco’ (a tip, bribe),” he says. “They say we can pay any amount. If I have 20 meticais, that’s what I give them.”
Mozambican driver Zeca Cossa similarly told DW Africa that military officers stop cars and demand money. He says that if he does not stop or pay, still worse happens. “They end up taking what they want by force and stealing a lot of other things besides,” he says.
“Some days ago a driver was shot because he refused to stop, and ended up dying in Beira Central Hospital,” Zeca Cossa says. “These things happen on the road here a lot.”Source: Deutsche Welle