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File photo of Andre Hanekom, published on August 12: O País
A South African businessman, who was kidnapped in northern Mozambique in August, is currently detained, accused of involvement in attacks by armed groups in the region, his wife told Lusa.
“He was detained on Sept. 11, the day after he was discharged [from hospital], and authorities say there are two witnesses who swear that he is involved in the armed attacks in Cabo Delgado,” said Francis Hanekon, the businessman’s wife.
Lusa contacted the Mozambican police spokesman in Cabo Delgado, Augusto Guta, who said he had no information on the case, but promised to investigate.
“The last information we had was that he was at Pemba Provincial Hospital. I do not confirm the information that he was detained,” the Mozambican police spokesman said.
According to the South African businessman’s wife, Andre Hanekon, about 60, is being held at the third police station in Pemba (capital of the province of Cabo Delgado, on the northeast coast of Mozambique).
“They let me in to change the wounds dressing, because he is not yet well, but they will not let me stay there for long,” Francis Hanekon reported.
Andre Hanekon works since 2012 in the area of shipping in Palma, in the province of Cabo Delgado.
On August 1, the businessman was kidnapped at a hotel in Palma by a group of four people with Balaclavas and military uniforms, told Lusa at the time the director of the hotel undertaking where the kidnapping took place.
According to his wife, the kidnapping occurred after rumours had been circulating on the businessman allegedly being the mastermind of the armed attacks that have been taking place in the area. Such allegations which Francis and local businesspeople say do not make sense.
Andre Hanekom owns the Marina in Palma, Mozambique and has lived in Mozambique for over 26 years
The abduction was never clarified by the authorities. According to Mozambican authorities, Andre Hanekon was rescued by the Defence and Security Forces in the Moçímboa da Praia district,.
Speaking to the press at the provincial hospital in Pemba, the businessman had said that. in addition to taking his money, cell phones and documents, the kidnappers took him to a forest and left him there.
Remote villages in the province of Cabo Delgado, located between 1,500 and 2,000 kilometres north of Maputo, have been plundered by unknown people since October 2017, causing an undetermined number of deaths and displaced persons.
Groups attacking the villages have never made any claims or made their intentions known, but investigators suggest that violence is linked to trafficking networks of heroin, ivory, rubies and wood.
The attacks come at a time when investments by natural gas oil companies in the region are moving forward, but have not yet entered the perimeter of the projects.Source: Lusa