The four suspects were arrested in the towns of Beira and Dondo and have been accused of involvement in the theft of food products to emergency victims of Cyclone Idai.
The spokesman of Sofala Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Mozambique’s flood-hit region, Joaquim Tomo, confirmed the arrest.
The official said three of the suspects were rounded up on Saturday, 6 April 2019, in the outlying Manga neighbourhood in the city of Beira, while a fourth was arrested in Dondo.
According to Tomo, this is the case of the theft of 19 bags of rice of 25 kilograms each, an equal number of sacks of 10 kilograms of maize, 11 bags of 10 kilograms of soybeans and one bag of 100 kilograms of beans.
“It’s a public crime and we appreciate the collaboration of everyone, because we’ve been receiving a lot of anonymous complaints. We are being supported by a lot of people, and the Attorney General’s Office is worried about the theft of donations that we hearing through social media. This is a rumor that has now been confirmed with these arrests of those indicted in this matter, in Beira and Dondo,” Tomo is quoted as saying late on Saturday by state radio.
So far, over 500 people have been confirmed dead in four provinces in the central region of Mozambique, along with more than 200 in neighbouring Zimbabwe and Malawi, but the death toll could be much higher.
Those who survived the disaster have had little reprieve to mourn the loss of their loved ones or salvage the little that is remaining of their belongings.
They are in desperate need of food, shelter and clothing.
For now, Tomo revealed that there were many suspects related to cases of theft of emergency items, in Beira, following the case-by-case investigation.
It is believed that there will be many people listed by his office.
“It does not matter whoever it is and we ask the population not to be afraid and denounce any kind of diversion of donations,” he reportedly said, adding that for this, the availability of a toll-free number for all telephone networks in the country.
A Category 3 Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique mid last month when it brought high wind with speeds of up to 224km/h and rain before it left trail of extensive damage to infrastructure and displacing almost three million people in the three countries.