Portuguese and Mozambicans in vigil to say “enough” to kidnappings in Mozambique

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Portuguese and Mozambican citizens gathered today at a vigil in Lisbon, saying that “enough is enough” of kidnappings in Mozambique, calling for action from the authorities, at a time when at least two people remain in captivity.

“Enough is enough. Stop this, please,” Sabina Aboobaker, one of almost two dozen people who gathered in the Portuguese capital Terreiro do Paço at the end of the morning for a vigil against kidnappings in Mozambique, which affect Mozambicans and Portuguese-Mozambicans, told Lusa.

The daughter of Mozambican parents, she herself saw one of her family members held captive for four months: “It was horrible, it was torture for everyone (…) It’s happening more and more. It’s disgusting.

For a few weeks now, Maputo has been experiencing a new wave of kidnappings, especially of businesspeople, with two Portuguese-Mozambicans having been targeted since November and suspicions that agents linked to police investigations are involved in this type of crime.

The “vigil against kidnappings in Mozambique” aimed to appeal “to the Mozambican authorities to make every effort to rescue the victims”.

For Sabina, the authorities “should do something” in a determined way to put an end to what she describes as the “mafia”: “As we read, in the Italian mafia, they kidnap the woman to give a warning to those who haven’t paid, this is real”.

Luís Fonseca de Sousa, from Portugal, also joined the vigil, recalling living with a family member in captivity for several weeks in Maputo.

“A lot of anguish, a lot of suffering, uncertainty, not knowing what tomorrow will bring, spending days, weeks at a time without knowing anything about your loved one,” she said.

“Fortunately everything went well, but at the moment there are still two people in captivity, kidnapped, with two distressed families, desperate for this situation to be resolved,” he added.

The common appeal at the vigil is that something must be done to “put an end to these crimes”.

“On the part of the Portuguese government, there needs to be some pressure and some help for the Mozambican government, so that this changes once and for all. Even probably some interaction and partnership with the police forces of the two countries or in partnership with police forces from other countries, perhaps better prepared to deal with this type of problem, so that this can be resolved once and for all,” Luís Sousa appealed.

The problem, say the participants in this vigil, is that those targeted in these kidnappings “are no longer millionaires” but “small businessmen, medium-sized businessmen”, including Mozambicans and Portuguese-Mozambicans.

At the beginning of November, the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA), the country’s largest employers’ association, called for “harsher” prison sentences against kidnappers and no possibility of bail in order to stop these crimes.

A petition launched on Tuesday, addressed to the governments of Mozambique and Portugal, asks for measures to rescue the citizens in captivity, calling on them “not to let these victims fall into oblivion”, and has already gathered more than half a thousand signatories.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Mozambican police arrested three people involved in the kidnapping of a 26-year-old Portuguese-Mozambican woman, who was held captive for 50 days.

The victim was kidnapped outside his home in the center of Maputo on November 1 by three armed men, and Portugal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously confirmed that it was monitoring this case and another, of another Portuguese-Mozambican citizen, who was also the target of an attempted kidnapping in the capital a few days later.

According to Maputo’s National Criminal Investigation Service, there have already been six cases of kidnapping in Maputo, “which were executed”, and another five attempts, with two victims remaining in captivity.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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