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Ex-spooks besiege Moz HQ in protest

21 February 2013, 12:03

Maputo - Hundreds of disgruntled former internal security agents besieged the headquarters of Mozambique's intelligence services on Wednesday, demanding pensions and warning a wave of unexplained kidnappings will go unsolved without their help.

Around 250 of the cold war veterans joined the protest to demand their pensions be paid.

"In no other part of the world can an intelligence agent be got rid of during his lifetime," a spokesperson for the protesting secret servicemen, Adolf Beira, told AFP.

Many claim to have received special training in Cuba and in countries of the former Soviet bloc and accuse the government of laying them off unfairly and replacing them with younger, inexperienced officers.

"If they marginalise us we will all witness the tragedy that is unfolding to our country," the former agent said.

Displaying their covert muscle, former agents said figures in power were involved in a spate of kidnappings that began in late 2011 that terrorised the wealthy South Asian business community.

One former agent refused to name anyone specifically but said "it is certain that authorities are getting money from these kidnappings."

"These kidnappings should not be happening but there are people in whose interests it is for them to continue happening because it earns them easy money."

During the most recent kidnapping of the owner of a Maputo take-away restaurant last Friday, assailants were dressed in police uniforms, local press reported.

The kidnappers have since demanded over $111 000 for his release.

"They know we could fight this," another former agent said.



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