MAPUTO, Feb 18 (NNN-AIM) — Mozambican police have admitted that “something went wrong” in the detention last Friday of Manuel Fortunato, a senior member of the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, in the central city of Beira.

Fortunato says police broke into his house on Friday and dragged him off to a cell, without even bothering to identify themselves. He told the independent television station STV that the following day, he was interrogated about the attempt on the life of Renamo General Secretary Manuel Bissopo on Jan 20.

The police wanted to know the whereabouts of two people who had been in the car with Bissopo, and with his bodyguard, who died in the attack. Fortunato did not know where they were, and at about 2 pm on Saturday he was released.

There was no explanation about why he had to be seized at home, and spend the night in a cell just to answer a few questions.

What makes this incident particularly serious is that Fortunato is a member of the elected Sofala Provincial Assembly, and the Chairperson of that Assembly’s Defence and Security Commission. Assembly members enjoy limited immunity: if the police wish to detain an Assembly member, they must first seek authorization from the Assembly.

Asked about Fortunato’s detention on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the Police General Command, Inacio Dina, admitted that the case was highly irregular.

The independent news-sheet Mediafax quoted Dina as saying: “We are concerned to find out the truth. It is not characteristic of the police to detain an individual in that way. There was no question about calling his right to freedom into doubt. I must say there was something wrong about the detention.”

Source: AIM