Cablegate: Allegations and Accusations in Nampula: Uncovering

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Allegations of trafficking in human organs and
children in the northern provincial capital of Nampula have
riveted the public's attention for the past several months
and received wide-spread press coverage. In the middle of the
firestorm is a foreign couple accused of trafficking in
organs by a Brazilian missionary. Following weeks of
sensationalistic articles slanted against the couple, the
climate has begun to change as the press has acknowledged
that the couple may have been the victims of rumors and
unfounded allegations. An investigation by the Attorney
General's office found no evidence to support the accusations
against the couple. High-ranking government officials and
opposition party leaders in Maputo and the provinces have
weighed-in on the case, with both parties calling for
enhanced measures to investigate and prosecute traffickers.
The case has been discussed twice in the National Assembly.
While a number of international organizations and high-level
government officials have questioned the accuracy of the
allegations, criticism of the investigation undertaken by the
Attorney General's office has been widespread. End Summary.

2. The allegations leveled against the foreign couple (the
husband is South African, the wife is Danish) stem from a
single source: a Brazilian missionary named Maria Elialda dos
Santos. The couple are neighbors of dos Santos and own a
successful poultry project in Nampula. The case first
attracted public attention in December, when the couple were
detained by local authorities on trafficking charges and
spent several days in jail. The couple was released due to a
lack of evidence and the intervention of the Danish
Ambassador. Post contacts in Nampula who know the couple
personally have categorically stated that they are innocent
and are being framed by Ms. dos Santos over a land dispute.

3. In response to the allegations, the Attorney General's
office sent several teams of investigators to Nampula,
including the country's leading forensic doctor. Local police
and investigators have also been working on the case. The
preliminary report on the investigations found no evidence of
trafficking in human organs. However, the report did not
specifically clear the couple of the charges. The
investigation on allegations of trafficking in children,
based principally on charges of missing or "disappeared"
children, were inconclusive. Investigations are on-going. The
Attorney General's report has been widely criticized by the
press, religious groups, local NGOs and the opposition party
RENAMO, who have questioned publicly the credibility of the

3. The Attorney General's annual report to the National
Assembly on the country's legal system, presented on March 9,
focused extensively on the Nampula case. While Attorney
General Madeira noted during his remarks that there was no
evidence to support the allegations of trafficking in human
organs, he did not fully vindicate the foreign couple. In
fact, he stated only that the investigation did not
"categorically" prove that the couple was involved in the
alleged crimes and called for a continuation of the
investigation. The Nampula case was also cited during the
opening session of the National Assembly on March 1. During
the session, Manual Tome, Head of the FRELIMO parliamentary
bench, urged a professional and thorough investigation of the
case and noted the Assembly's "willingness and readiness" to
work towards the adoption of anti-trafficking legislation.

4. Comment: The Nampula case has served to highlight both the
lack of education about trafficking in persons among civil
society and many government officials, and the power that
traditional beliefs still hold in Mozambique. NGOs and
government programs on trafficking in Mozambique have focused
almost exclusively on children, reflecting, in part, concerns
stemming from a tradition of child migration and abuse in the
country. Yet, international organizations such as the
International Organization on Migration (IOM), which produced
a report on trafficking in Southern Africa in 2003, found
that a significant number of cases of trafficking in
Mozambique involve women. On the positive side, the Nampula
case has served to raise public awareness about trafficking
and may well prompt the adoption of more aggressive
government policies to investigate and prosecute traffickers,
including the adoption of desperately needed anti-trafficking
legislation. However, given the lack of financial and
technical resources within the government on trafficking
issues, international assistance will likely be required for
the development and implementation of effective policies or

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