Mozambique: Grave Robbers Arrested in Nampula

The Mozambican police last Saturday arrested eight people for profaning a grave in the northern city of Nampula.

The grave contained the body of an albino citizen and the gang raided it to steal body parts, which are said to possess magical powers.

The Nampula provincial police spokesperson, Zacarias Nacute, told a press conference on Wednesday that the crime took place a week ago in a family cemetery in the Nampula neighbourhood of Namutequliua.

Hr said the grave robbers removed the body, cut off the arms, and then dumped the rest of the body in the bush near the cemetery.

“Thanks to the investigations undertaken by the police”, said Nacute, “it was possible first to arrest three of the suspects who had a bag containing 16 fragments of bone from the body. Later we managed to arrest the other five criminals”.

AIM interviewed the suspects who confessed to the crime and said they now regretted robbing the grave.

21 year old Nito Manuel said he had been in charge of the operation, at the request of an unnamed friend whose whereabouts are currently unknown. This “friend”, he said, is a Mozambican national who at the time of the arrangement was living near Nampula airport.

“A friend of mine contacted me and asked if I could find people capable of violating the albino’s grave and extracting the bones”, he said. At first he turned the job down, “but a few days later I accepted because the money he was offering me was tempting. So I got enough people together who were sufficiently courageous to do the job, We went to the cemetery equipped with pickaxes, spaces, hoes, gloves and masks”.

Another member of the group, Claudio Manuel, said he agreed to rob the grave because they were offered four million meticais (about 74,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) to be divided between the eight of them.

Two of the grave robbers were witchdoctors, recruited both to assist in selling the bones, and to use magic that would prevent the criminals from being caught.

One of the witch-doctors, Adriano Aiuba, claimed he cooperated but did not realize that the business proposed to him involved robbing a grave. He told AIM “they showed up at my house and asked me to give them medicine for the success of their business. But I guarantee I didn’t know what kind of business this was, or I would never have accepted.”

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique