Search

 

Cablegate: Increase in Vigilante Killings Exposes Broken

VZCZCXRO9277
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0472/01 1420617
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210617Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8900
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0162
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 000472

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (FORMATING ERROR)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM MZ
SUBJECT: INCREASE IN VIGILANTE KILLINGS EXPOSES BROKEN
JUSTICE SYSTEM


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) Mozambique has registered a significant rise in the
number of reported vigilante killings, from 17 in 2006, to
31 in 2007, to 30 in the first four months of 2008. The
increase is the result of several factors, including a rise
in the cost of living, growing crime rate, lack of police
presence, and a poorly functioning judicial system. Thus
far, the government has taken few steps to address the
killings. Absent a more comprehensive plan to attack the
root of the problem, the number of vigilante killings is
likely to continue increasing.

-------------------
NUMBERS TRENDING UP
-------------------

2. (SBU) According to prominent Mozambican sociologist
Carlos Serra, the first reported vigilante killings were in
the early 1990s, with upwards of 30 such reports per year.
With the end of the civil war and subsequent holding of
democratic elections, the number of vigilante killings
began to fall Q a trend that continued until 2004 (Note:
coincidentally, this is the year that Armando Guebuza
became President. End note.). In 2006 the number stood at
17. The government was slow to respond to a major crime
wave in Maputo and several other big cities during 2007,
and the number of vigilante killings reached 31. In the
first four months of 2008, there were 30 reported cases (11
in Chimoio, 9 in Beira, 7 in Maputo, 2 in Dondo, and 1 in
Vanduzi).

------------------------------
THE ROOT OF VIGILANTE KILLINGS
------------------------------

3. (SBU) While media coverage tends to be minimal--usually
a paragraph-long story relegated to newspaper back
pages--sociologists, academics, and NGOs are working to
expose vigilante killings as a societal sickness with
serious implications for the judicial system. The GRM and
police officials acknowledge that such killings occur, but
fail to tie them to the root causes. According to Serra,
the underlying themes include a weak economy, a poor
population, and non-functioning law enforcement and
judicial systems. The NGO Human Rights League offers more
specific reasons that vigilante killings occur: a rise in
the cost of living (especially this year) coupled with a
high unemployment rate makes citizens more reliant on
thievery and other illegal activities; outlying suburbs
lack electricity, creating an environment of insecurity; an
undermanned police force is unable to provide more than a
token presence in many parts of the country, particularly
suburban and rural areas; citizens distrust the police and
lack faith in a justice system that they consider corrupt
and inefficient.

4. (U) Indications suggest that Mozambicans have lost faith
in the overall justice system, from the undermanned, poorly
paid police force, to the inadequately conducted criminal
investigations, to constant allegations of bribery that
allows criminals to go free, to a slow and inefficient
court system with an enormous backlog of cases, and finally
to the poorly-run prison system. At a recent panel
discussion on vigilante killings organized by a Maputo
university, one citizen stated that, "we are tired of the
violence in our neighborhoods and have witnessed a decrease
in crime thanks to vigilante justice." Another noted the
corruption in the police, "if the police catch a thief, he
is soon released, and the problem is never solved." In
response to the surge in crime in 2007, the police put more
officers on the streets and set up regular checkpoints, but
these efforts did not reach the outlying neighborhoods,
where most vigilante killings occur. Similarly, there
continues to be a severe lack of judges, the judicial
process remains dauntingly slow, and courts have received
few resources to clear the large backlog of cases. As a
result, citizens continued take matters into their own
hands, believing they are sending a message to government
authorities to provide a stronger police presence and to
fix the court system.

-------
COMMENT

MAPUTO 00000472 002 OF 002


-------

5. (SBU) It is alarming that in only the first four months
of 2008, Mozambique has nearly surpassed the highest number
of vigilante killings recorded in a year. While the
numbers correspond to a general increase in crime since
2007, the government's response Q a stronger police
presence within the city limits - appears more a band-aid
than a solution. Long term solutions, like training new
judges and providing more resources to reduce the backlog
of criminal cases are still in the infancy stages. In the
short term, the government might consider hiring more
police officers, paying higher salaries to cut down on
corruption, and placing officers in outlying
neighborhoods. Absent these efforts, it is likely that the
number of vigilante killings will continue to increase at
the same rapid pace as during the first four months of
2008.

Chapman

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: