Vigilantes

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I truly wasn’t aware of the risks of walking on the Marginal. Chez nous the boys talk between them. As I am the only girl around here, they spare me of some topics. I am thankful for that because most of the conversations are about cars. Violence is another subject I avoid. Let me tell that I avoid anything that depresses me. Only after my camera was stolen, I was inside a series of disturbing accounts of violence taking place near the same spot. Situations involving people that we know are enough to give me the authority to ask: why can’t someone do something about it?

 

Andy told me about all the tourists that stop their cars on the Marginal for photos, just like me unaware of the risks, and end up facing a knife or a pistol and loosing most of their possessions.

 

From all the episodes Andy told me, I must write about one of them because it involves one of my seven divers. He was mugged twice in the same place, forced to leave behind everything he was carrying. I think that the first time he reported the robbery, but let me tell you that crime here pays off. Criminals are seldom caught and victims never get their things back. Why complain then?

 

I think my diver friend thought the same. He was so furious that he decided to take charge of the situation. He knew that he would never get his belongings back but he just wanted to make them sweat with fear, just make them taste a little of what they were forcing upon their victims.

 

He took a legal gun and asked for the company of a friend. They started the same path where the two other assaults had happened. Less than five minutes later, one of the bandits appeared in front of them waving a knife in a very menacing way. My diver friend warned: ‘Get lost or I’ll shoot you!’

 

Instead of disappearing, five other scoundrels came from the flanks and behind with the intention of closing a circle around the two of them. My diver reached for his gun and shoot twice in the air. I think that the vision of such despicable people running like rats between the foliage was enough to pacify my friend’s need of retaliation.

 

For nine months I have been reporting most of the time “marvels” about this country. Maybe it’s time to give birth to the truth: Mozambique is not safe and authorities are very far from being prepared to guarantee the safety of citizens and tourists. This is a far west where we are forced to live in.

 

 

To be continued

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