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File photo: Sala da Paz
A car once owned by the mayor of the southern Mozambican town of Chibuto, Henriques Machava, was used, not only in the assassination, on 7 October, of civil society activist Anastacio Matavel, but in the murder a fortnight earlier of a policeman named Carlos Ubisse, according to a report in Friday’s issue of the independent weekly “Savana”.
The paper says the same death squad, consisting of police agents, committed both murders. The murder of Ubisse was a mistake – the killers confused him with Matavel, since both men lived in the same part of Xai-Xai, were physically similar, and drove similar cars.
Ubisse, a former police commander in Chokwe and Chibuto districts, was abducted on 23 September near the barracks of the Rapid Intervention Force (UIR – the Mozambican riot police) in Chonguene, just outside Xai-Xai. He was taken to Chibuto where he was beaten and left for dead.
But Ubisse was still alive, and able to cry for help. Local people found him lying in the bush and took him to hospital, where he died a few hours later.
Machava sold the car, a Toyota Mark X, with the number plate ADE 127 MC, to Ricardo Manganhe, who works at Chibuto Municipal Council. Since Manganhe had not finished paying for the car, it was still registered in Machava’s name.
Manganhe told “Savana” that he lent the car to his childhood friend Nobrega Chauque in September (before the murder) of Ubisse, and again on 5 October, two days before Matavel was gunned down.
Chauque was a member of the UIR, whom Manganhe regarded as a close friend, and so he thought nothing of lending him his car. On 5 October, Chauque said he needed the car to deal with a “family emergency”, and promised to return it on 7 October. Manganhe told “Savana” he had no idea the car would be used in a murder.
Asked what “family emergency” could last for three days, Manganhe told the paper his closeness with Chauque was such that the question never occurred to him. He never harboured any suspicions about Chauque.
Chauque was one of two members of the death squad who died, because their getaway did not go according to plan. After the murder of Matavel, a police car gave chase, and as the killers sped out of Xai-Xai, they became involved in a major traffic accident.
Two of them, Nobrega Chauque and Marins William, died in the crash. Two others, Euclidio Mapulasse and Edson Silica, were taken into custody, and a fifth, Agapito Matavele, is on the run.
All of them appear to have been members of the Special Operations Group (GOE), a police unit that was originally set up to provide additional security for the President of the Republic.
After the assassination, police general commander Bernadino Rafael suspended from duty the Gaza commanders of the UIR, Alfredo Macuacua, and of the GOE, Tudela Macauze Guirrugo. A prosecutor confronted the two assassins in custody, Mapulasse and Silica, with Guirrugo on Tuesday, and after the three hour interrogation, Guirrego was taken into detention.Source: AIM
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