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Cablegate: Armed Assault Adjacent to American Embassy Maputo

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

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000329

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA, DS/OPO/FPD,
POSTS FOR RSO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC
SUBJECT: ARMED ASSAULT ADJACENT TO AMERICAN EMBASSY MAPUTO

1. On 03/10/05 at approximately 0037 hours, an armed home
invasion robbery attempt was committed against the residence
located on the SE corner of Faria de Sousa and Damiao de Gois
Rua. This location is directly across from the primary
vehicle entrance to the American Embassy at an approximate
distance of 15 meters. According to a report filed by
Wackenhut guards and an interview of the day-shift guard at
the residence, three men were parked across the street from
the home, awaiting the arrival of the resident, a Danish
citizen and an employee of Motorcare. When the resident
arrived two men got out of their vehicle and made entry
through the residential vehicle gate. They instructed the
guard, from Securcor, to lie down on the ground under the car
and for the victim to get out of his car. During this time,
while the assailants were dealing with the victim, the guard
sneaked out from under the car and activated the silent panic
alarm. A Securcor armed response team arrived shortly
thereafter to assess the situation. Upon their arrival, they
received gunfire from the assailants who were now getting in
their car to escape. The assailants drove off, but the
Securcor vehicle did not give chase since it was still
receiving fire from the assailants, scoring hits on the
security vehicle. The RSO was contacted shortly thereafter
and made aware of the incident. Local Embassy guards and
police posted at the Embassy did not respond. Witnesses said
that four to five shots were fired. Police recovered two
shell casings.

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2. Review of Embassy security cameras show an account
slightly different than that stated by the witnesses
questioned by the Wackenhut guards, the police, RSO, and
ARSO. Primary differences center on the fact that it appears
the assailants' vehicle arrived approximately 50 seconds
after the arrival of the resident. It also appears that the
assailants fired from their car as they drove away, firing
their weapons in a southerly direction down Damiao de Gois,
along the west side of the Embassy with a line of fire
adjacent to the guard booth, rather than down Faria de Sousa
and away from the Embassy as stated by the witnesses. The
post directly across the street from the incident is manned
by one Wackenhut guard, one police officer, and one rapid
reaction force police officer. Video shows that the rapid
reaction force police officer was likely asleep or at least
inattentive to the situation prior to it occurring. The other
police officer was just coming out of the Annex building as
the event happened. As shots were fired, police and guards
all took cover. Video resolution was poor and did not capture
any relevant details such as make, model or license plate of
the vehicles. Video from the DVR was saved to a CD and stored
in the RSO files.

3. PIR and PRM commanders were informed and a meeting was
conducted on the morning of 03/10/05 to discuss the event and
the lack of police response. Police commanders questioned the
guards and the police posted at the Embassy and ensured the
RSO that corrective measures would be taken immediately to
improve police response and effectiveness.

4. RSO Comment: This incident is in line with those that have
occurred in the past several months, although it appears that
the assailants are becoming more brazen as there appeared to
be little reluctance on their part to fire on security
forces. This assault causes further concern due to the
proximity to the American Embassy and an armed local police
presence, and that they attacked a residence with visible
security measures. Embassy personnel will be informed of the
incident and reminded to be alert, especially when arriving
at their residences where they are most vulnerable.
LALIME

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