Mozambique: Suspected Pylon Saboteurs Arrested

Maputo — The damage caused by saboteurs who knocked down ten pylons on the electricity transmission line from Ressano Garcia, on the South African border, to Infulene on the outskirts of Maputo, is put at over 20 million meticais (about 303,000 US dollars), according to the Mozambican government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Filimao Suaze.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Suaze said that several suspects have been detained in a joint operation between the police and a technical team from the publicly owned electricity company EDM.

The detentions were possible, because the police surprised stone masons using angle brackets from the downed pylons to build shops in Ressano Garcia.

“They were surprised building stalls, using the angle brackets, which are the substantial parts of the sabotaged pylons”, said Suaze.

According to Suaze, three pylons were knocked down, and, when they fell, they dragged seven more down with them. This line is a back-up to the main electricity transmission line from South Africa which supplies Maputo city and province with power.

EDM has been repeatedly plagued by acts of sabotage, in which criminals steal copper and aluminium cables, and the angle brackets of pylons. Much of this stolen material is sold on to scrap metal merchants.

Suaze said the Council of Ministers had also discussed the proliferation of illegal gambling, through the use of slot machines (or “one armed bandits”).

Gambling is regulated by law, and can only be practiced legitimately at licensed institutions such as casinos. But the government’s National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) has seized 229 illicit slot machines, with a total value of 293,900 meticais, said Suaze.

The government is concerned because children become addicted to the slot machines. Suaze said there were cases where children abscond from school, and steal money from their parents to play the slot machines.

He called for “a combat at all levels so that people do not play these games”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique