MAPUTO– Mozambican police have arrested six people in the northern port city of Nacala who are accused of sabotaging electricity pylons on the transmission line from Nampula city to Nacala, more than 2,200 kilometres north of here.

The men stole metallic angle brackets from the pylons, and then sold the material to scrap iron merchants, who melted it down to make domestic utensils such as pots and pans, according to a report on the independent television station, STV. Five of the six men were detained while they were supplying the stolen material to a buyer of scrap who was arrested later.

The police have no doubt that these men are responsible for damaging the pylons, and the head of operations for the police command in Nacala, Rafael Paulino, said they will be charged with sabotage.

They sabotaged 21 pylons. We have managed to neutralise the five who always carried out the sabotage, and we picked up the man giving the orders the next day. They were found in possession of the stolen material, he added.

In addition to recovering the angle brackets, the police seized a Canter truck used by the gang to transport the parts stolen from the pylons.

A spokesperson for the electricity company, EDM, told STV that scrap metal companies present a serious threat. It is these companies which are always willing to buy metallic materials, even though they know very well its criminal origin.