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File photo / For illustration purposes only / TVM
The Mozambican police claimed on Tuesday that security has been re-established for buses travelling between Maputo and Johannesburg.
This follows several attacks on buses, mostly travelling at night, in which passengers have been robbed of their money and other possessions. In at least same cases the criminals had pretended to be passengers, but pulled out guns once the bus had passed the Mozambique-South Africa border.
The spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Inacio Dina, told reporters that the Mozambican and South African police have carried out joint operations, culminating in the arrest of a man believed to be the brains behind the bus attacks.
Dina said the detention of this man was important for the police to understand the modus operandi of the gang and identify its other members.
“We went into the field, we coordinated with our counterparts in South Africa”, said Dina. “We have an operational committee for the prevention of cross-border crimes, leading to the detention of one individual and the identification of many others”.
Among the methods used by the criminals, he said, was to enter the buses as passengers, and later commit robberies, or to immobilise the bus through damaging its tyres, and then attack the helpless victims.
Dina said the gang had a sophisticated system of communication, with informants at the bus terminals sending detailed descriptions of potential victims to other gang members.
Dina did not say how many people have been arrested so far, but guaranteed that the investigations are continuing and that the situation is now under control.
“Currently, both the bus companies and the passengers can feel comfortable”, he said, “bearing in mind the joint measures we have taken and are taking”.