A policeman was among members of a gang of livestock thieves arrested by Mozambican police in Messica, in the central province of Manica.

The policeman had worked at a police station in the provincial capital, Chimoio, according to a report in the Beira-based newspwer Diario de Mocambique.

The arrests began last Wednesday when the police seized a gang member, Edson Baptista, who was transporting the carcasses of two head of cattle which had just been slaughtered.

The thieves stole cattle from local livestock farmers, slaughtered the animals clandestinely, and then sold the meat illegally in Chimoio.

Three other members of the gang were also in the pick-up truck but managed to escape. The police were only able to detain the driver, Baptista.

Last Thursday, the police arrested the supposed leader of the group, Edmundo Alberto, who was about to sell the head of a cow, which was found in the trunk of his car. This also led to the detention of the policeman-turned-thief, Sevelino Francisco, who was in possession of a key to the car.

Later that day, Francisco was paraded to journalists in Chimoio, in the presence of the Manica Provincial Police Commander, Armando Canhenze, who declared that the mission of the police was to ensure the safety of the public, and never to ally themselves with criminals.

Francisco’s behavior brings disgrace to this uniform, he said. We shall take action, he added.

The spokesperson for the Provincial Police Command, Elsidia Filipe, confirmed to reporters that Francisco is now facing disciplinary and criminal proceedings.