Mozambique: Sernic Confirms Capture of Drug Traffickers

Maputo � The general director of Mozambique’s National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC), Domingos Jofane, has confirmed that the 12 foreign citizens (all believed to be Iranians), arrested in the northern province of Cabo Delgado on Saturday, were smuggling about one and a half tonnes of heroin.

Interviewed by the independent daily “O Pais”, Jofane confirmed the authenticity of the footage of the interception of the traffickers’ boat shown by Mozambican television channels. The dramatic footage showed the wooden boat ablaze off the coast of Cabo Delgado after the traffickers had set it on fire, and the failed attempts by the defence and security forces to douse the flames.

“We learnt of the approach of a boat that was carrying prohibited cargo – namely heroin”, said Jofane. “So we put out to sea to intercept this evil, and the criminals set fire to the boat. We then captured 12 traffickers, who are now in the hands of the justice system. It is estimated that about a tonne and a half of heroin was on that boat”.

It is believed that 15 Iranians were on board the boat. After setting the boat on fire, they jumped into the sea. Only 12 were picked up, and it is presumed that the other three died.

Clearly SERNIC had good intelligence on the approach of the traffickers, and so it is suspected that foreign agencies, possibly from the United States, provided that intelligence.

The fire destroyed the evidence – which, unless the traffickers confess, may make it difficult to secure a conviction when the case comes to trial.

Such a large amount of heroin is unlikely to have been all for consumption in Mozambique, and the real destination might have been South Africa.

Jofane was speaking to reporters on Thursday, after the opening of a meeting of the SERNIC Coordinating Council, held under the slogan “For a pro-active SERNIC, implacable in the fight against crime”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique