Over 20 people have been lynched in Maputo and outlying areas since August as residents take justice into their own hands amid growing frustration with the failure of the police to tackle crime, Inter Press Service (IPS) reports. Instances of mob justice have been particularly common in Zimpeto, north of Maputo, where residents are said to have caught alleged criminals and taken them to the police only to find them back on the streets and sometimes even harassing those who turned them in. The local population is now demanding that the authorities open a police station in the area and help train local community patrols.
In October interior minister Jos Pacheno told parliament that in general terms crime is under control. However, his view is widely disputed by the opposition and associations alike. Everything indicates that the authorities have lost control of the situation, said Alice Mabota, chairperson of the Human Rights League. She added that not only do law enforcement agencies need to be overhauled but certain elements need to be rooted out who may be facilitating, or even actively participating in crime.