Small war in Cabo Delgado continues - By Joseph Hanlon
Photo: O País
Eight inmates from Beira Central Prison have managed to escape in the early hours of Sunday, between two and three a.m.. Among the fugitives is Isaías Nicolau, arrested at the end of December 2017 in the company of two other young men, for the murder of a 28.year-old Portuguese citizen, Inês Botas, who was found dead in the Pungue River.
Another famous member of this group is Moniz Bambo, sentenced a month ago to 16 years in prison for his involvement in the theft of more than 29 million meticais at one of Millennium BIM’s branches in Beira.
The information was given by the director of Beira Central Prison, who added that proceedings involving several justice agencies are currently underway to capture the fugitives.
“The fugitives, among them six who were in pre-trial detention, were awaiting trial, as is the case with Isaias Nicolau. The other two had already been sentenced to long sentences.In order to escape, the men sawed the bars of their prison cell, which, by the way, was the security cell,”said Yazalde de Sousa, Director of the Beira Central Jail.
In August last year, 17 inmates escaped from the same jail and among them was also Moniz Bambo. A curious fact is that the prison break also occurred on a Sunday, just like the latter.
It should be noted that about a week ago Sofala’s chief prosecutor, Carolina Azarias, expressed concern for the fact that the murder case of the Portuguese citizen had not yet been tried, nine months after the case had been brought to court.
Yesterday, commenting on the prison break in reference, Carolina Azarias said that this case is worrisome. The Public Prosecutor then assured that, despite the escape of Isaias Nicolau, the case will be tried.
“It will not affect the trial because there are others who have been indicted in the same case. Isaías Nicolau may be tried in absentia, because the preparatory instruction had already been completed and he had been, in due time, constituted a defendant,” explained Carolina Azarias.
However, the prosecutor said that the central prison of Beira has no security conditions.
“Not because the people responsible for the jail are incompetent. The problem is that the central prison is already an old building and it was designed for a certain capacity. Today there are almost triple the inmates of its [initial] capacity and no engineering work has been done to support the overcrowding “- said Carolina Azarias.
By Francisco Raiva