South Africa

Mozambique: Amurane Murder - Charges Reinstated Against Suspects

Maputo — The higher appeals court in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula has reinstated murder charges against the two initial suspects in the assassination, on 4 October 2017, of the mayor of Nampula city, Mahamudo Amurane, reports the independent television station, STV.

The two suspects are a former Nampula city councilor, Saide Aly Abdala, and a businessman in the construction industry, Zainal Abdul Satar. They had been meeting with Amurane at his home shortly before he was shot dead.

The Nampula branch of the Public Prosecutor's Office investigated the case for 14 months, and decided there was enough evidence to charge the two men. But the Nampula Provincial Court was not convinced, and on 8 August 2019, Judge Adelina Pereira Vaz, issued a dispatch quashing the charges. She believed there was insufficient proof against the two men to push ahead with a trial.

Neither of the men had confessed, she said, there were no witnesses to their involvement in the murder, and there was no material proof.

The prosecution appealed and the appeals court found in its favour, Thus the charges against Abdala and Satar have been reinstated, and the court must now schedule a trial.

"The proof in the case file is robust and sufficient. There is enough to take them both to court", said Cristovao Milieca, the spokesperson for the Nampula branch of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Amurane was elected mayor of Nampula in the 2013 municipal elections, on the ticket of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). He fell out with the MDM leader, the late Daviz Simango, and was known to be considering running as an independent in the next local elections, in 2019.

The bitter dispute inside the MDM led to speculation that MDM figures had conspired to eliminate Amurane, though no evidence has even been publicly presented for this theory.

The MDM lost Nampula in the 2019 elections, and the current mayor is Paulo Vahanle, who was the candidate of the largest opposition party, Renamo.

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