Africa

Mozambique judge Dinis Silica shot dead in Maputo

Rooftop view of Maputo, Mozambique (Archive shot) Image copyright AFP
Image caption There have been numerous violent kidnappings in Maputo over the last several years

A judge who was investigating a wave of kidnappings in Mozambique has been shot dead in the capital, Maputo.

Witnesses say three gunmen sprayed Dinis Silica's car with bullets when it stopped at a traffic light.

Police say they are not ruling out the possibility it is related to the judge's investigations.

There have been several kidnappings in Mozambique in recent years, with kidnappers demanding ransoms of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maputo police spokesperson Arnaldo Chefu told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that the attackers used AK-47 rifles, which was why officers were investigating a possible link to kidnappers.

"The kidnappers are very dangerous and very violent, we're dealing now with organised crime, and these guys they most of the times use violence," Mr Chefu said.

Another reason for the attack on the judge may have been that he was carrying more than $119,000 (£70,000) in the car, he said.

The cash, in the local currency and US dollar bank notes, was not stolen.

This may have been because there were witnesses about and a police station nearby, Mr Chefu said.

The BBC's Jose Tembe in Maputo says when the kidnappings began several years ago, gangs initially targeted wealthy businessmen, but are now also kidnapping people from middle-class backgrounds.

Last year, the murder of a child by his abductors caused outrage in the country.

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