- Mozambique's Attorney-General is strengthening his case against alleged traffickers of human organs in Nampula, the regional capital of the country's north. Brazilian missionaries and Nampula residents suspect local police officers of organising the illegal trade, which may have cost several lives.
The Head Office of the Attorney-General in Maputo is looking into several cases of alleged trafficking in human organs in Mozambique. In Nampula, the research of Attorney-General Joaquim Madeira is slowly yielding results.
The investigation was provoked by reports from local human rights groups and the Brazilian Mission in Nampula, reporting of local children that were missing vital body organs.
The population of Nampula accuses the local police of complicity with the traffickers by failing to investigate suspicious deaths among local children, the Portuguese broadcaster 'RDP África' reports from northern Mozambique. Police officers "simply order the burying of corpses without ordering any autopsy or inquiry and without any legal proceedings," unnamed sources told 'RDP'.
According to the Brazilian Mission in Nampula, there is definitively going on an organised traffic in human body organs in the region. The missionaries care for numerous poor children and orphans and have observed victims of organ removals among them. Several children were believed to have died as a result of this, the Mission believed.
Attorney-General Madeira has now ordered the exhumation of several human bodies in suspected cases of illegal organ trafficking. The Office's Health Department is to establish whether a crime has happened.
Also Abdul Rasak, governor of the city of Nampula, is assuring that the allegations are taken seriously. Human organ trafficking is "given all the attention necessary," he told the press in Nampula, reports 'Público'. The city council had ordered investigations already three month ago.
The government of Mozambique already in year 2000 acknowledged the existence of trafficking in human organs in the country. Investigations so far have established that trafficking in Mozambique mostly is organised by Southern African crime rings. Most of the organs - kidneys and corneas - are trafficked for the purpose of transplants, although trafficking of organs for witchcraft purposes also exists.
Cases of trafficking of human organs so far mostly have been defined to the southern part of Mozambique, where the criminal groups involved are usually known to kill specifically for the purpose of extracting organs.
The main market for these groups is in neighbouring South Africa, whose government recently promised to strengthen its efforts against the deadly trade.
South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala Msimang last month told the press she was "deeply shocked" by the quantity of organ trafficking taking place in South Africa and the region. Ms Tshabalala Msimang reminded South Africans that trafficking in human tissue - or charging money in any way to acquire or supply human tissue - from a dead or living person was illegal.
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