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The Mozambican police have denounced the creation of phoney “associations of natives” in Maputo city and province, reports Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
These associations are at the centre of several land disputes. According to the police, those who form such associations use their alleged status as “natives” of a particular area to claim rights to land. But the police have found that the same people claim to be “natives” of several different places.
Meeting on Saturday with residents of the Maputo urban district of Kamabukwana, the General Commander of the police, Bernadino Rafael, said the main purpose of the phoney associations was to usurp land, which they then sell.
“In every neighbourhood, they call themselves natives”, said Rafael. “But how can one and the same person be a native of many neighbourhoods? Nobody can be born simultaneously in Matola, Jafar, Boquisso, Siduava, Matola-Gare and many other places”.
“We are sounding the alert”, he said. “You should be attentive to these false ‘natives’, whom we have already identified. It’s the false members of ‘commissions of natives’ who are expropriating land and selling it illegally”.
Such illicit land seizures have been particularly acute in Marracuene district. One case has raged for the past two years, as self-styled “natives” of Marracuene have seized land from the forestry company Milhulamete, which has legal title to the land, divided it into plots and sold it off.
Rafael warned his audience “Do not associate with these people. They are individuals who are using residents to disturb public order and tranquillity, and to discredit the authorities”.
“They present themselves as people who know how to read and write, and who understand the land law, all as a pretext for deceiving the public”, he continued. “They say they are defending the interests of the population, but they are phonies. Citizens should not allow themselves to be enticed by these agendas which seek to destabilise the communities”.
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