'Corruption in Cabo Delgado is now rife andleading to a major breakdown in law and order'

"High-level corruption and local government corruption in Cabo Delgado in particular are now rife and are leading to a major breakdown in law and order," warns GI-TOC.

And it is not just Cabo Delgado, but throughout the north of Mozambique. "There is virtual impunity for high-ranking politicians involved in criminal markets. Moreover, the police are described as the closest thing to a mafia group in the country, with law-enforcement officers often engaging directly in organized crime activities and acting as a hit squad for the government and ruling party."

"Most markets are dominated by networks of foreigners and local businessmen, with political corruption providing the protection for operations." Powerful families exercise control over some of the ports and have a strong presence in the biggest cities in the north. These groups have established tight relationships with Mozambique’s political elite. The second channel for drugs (after dhows) is in containers arriving on cargo ships at Pemba and Nacala. This "is organized by networks of high-volume traffickers reputedly enjoying support from senior party and government officials."

In 2016, the Mozambican government introduced licensing that made informal mining technically illegal, so local police became essential to the market’s functioning. Artisanal miners – garimpeiros – report "local arrangements with police, either through profit-sharing agreements or bribes … Police may even run their own mining operations. There are also reports that police control and extort miners through the threat of violence. Police and security guards at concessions also facilitate mining. [Miners] often bribe police to gain access at night, typically for a slot of two to four hours," notes the report.

Indeed, GI-TOC notes that within the illicit trade, the north is better organised and less violent. "The level of violence linked to illicit markets in [the north] is low. It is almost non-existent for drug traffickers or wildlife traffickers. … Kidnapping between criminal net-works or gangs is more common in the south of the country, as is kidnapping for ransom. Assassinations are also a more common phenomenon in the south of the country." (https://bit.ly/Moz-587)

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